About Saigas

The saiga antelope is a migratory ungulate of the steppes and deserts of Central Asia and Russia. The saiga is found in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and, rarely, Turkmenistan. The saiga's typical habitat is flat open areas covered with low-growing vegetation, allowing animals to run quickly; areas of broken terrain or dense cover are generally avoided.

Range map of populations

Range map - 1. Pre-Caspian population; 2. Ural population; 3. Ustiurt population; 4. Betpak-dala population; 5. Mongolian population. Redrawn from Milner-Gulland, E.J., Kholodova, M.V., Bekenov, A.B., Bukreeva, O.M., Grachev, Iu.A., Amgalan, L., Lushchekina, A.A. (2001) Dramatic declines in saiga antelope populations. Oryx 35, 340-345.

Saigas grazing

A migratory species, saiga antelope live in large herds, usually up to a thousand individuals. They have a high rate of reproduction and recruitment, with females giving birth in their first year of life and routinely twinning after that. This gives the species the resilience bounce back from population crashes caused by harsh winters or disease, and from overhunting.