Forage Availability to Saigas (Saiga tatarica) and Their State on Steppe Pastures with a Different Ratio of Graminoid Plants and Forbs

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An interfaced analysis of change of forage vegetation, nutrition of saigas (Saiga tatarica), and their state in the steppe regions of Russia is performed. It is noted that the percent of graminoids has increased considerably and the proportion of forbs has decreased in the vegetation of current pastures, which has had a negative impact on the nutrition and state of saigas. It is shown that the lower nutritional value of graminoids has caused a decrease in the digestibility of forage used by saigas and does not provide the physiological require ments of the animals.

Saiga Herd Grazing

It is established that modern steppe pastures, where gramineous communities prevail, are of little use or absolutely unsuitable for the stable existence of saiga populations. Only separate dwelling places with an abundance of forbs continue to provide adequate nutrition for saigas and wellbeing for their local groupings.