Summaries of Russian documentation of mass mortality events in saiga during the 1970s and 1980s

S. Robinson

This review is a summary of Russian sources on suspected outbreaks of pasteurellosis in the saiga antelope prior to 2015. This literature consists of translations of the relevant sections of the annual saiga expedition and aerial count reports; reports of government commissions investigating the larger mortality events; and published articles.

Footnotes by the reviewer provide additional or contextual information to support interpretation of the summarised articles. In many of the reviewed reports, authors do not distinguish between haemorrhagic septicaemia (the proximate cause of the 2015 die-off) and pneumonic pasteurellosis, which has a different pathology and aetiology. In such cases the term pasteurellosis is used to mean either of these two syndromes.

Some of the veterinary terms could not be translated with full confidence and in such cases the Russian terms are also provided. In addition to the events described here, a mass mortality also occurred in 2012, documentation of which is already available in English (Zuther, 2012).

The locations described in this document are available in GIS format at