From Steppe to Store: The Trade in Saiga Antelope Horn

S. Chan
A. Maksimuk
L. Zhirnov
S. Nash
From Steppe to Store: The Trade in Saiga Antelope Horn

Saiga antelopes are remarkable animals, adapted in behaviour and physiology to the harsh and unpredictable climatic conditions of the semiarid steppes of Central Asia. Nomadic and forming huge herds, the Saiga Antelope is a species with a short life span and an extremely high reproductive rate, whose populations are capable of quickly recovering from periodic high mortality rates induced by particularly harsh weather. Saiga horns are also known as ling yang (羚羊) and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

However, the greatest threat currently facing the Saiga is not the extinction in the early 1900s. The Saiga antelope has recovered only to find itself under serious threat once again. The political situation and habitat within the Saiga's range have changed substantially and demand for its horn in traditional Chinese medicine has led to uncontrollable poaching, leaving the long-term survival of the Saiga antelope far from certain.