Tengrinews.kz reports, citing a report of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Agriculture.
“Today at 12:00 a.m. a new place of saiga die-off has been located during an aerial survey of saiga habitation area in Zhangeldin region of Kostanay oblast. This place is to the South-West of the previous die-off site that was located on May 19, 2012. The die-off area is 11 x 5 kilometers,” the press-release reads.
The Ministry’s officials say that Okhotzooprom inspectors (Kostanay oblast’s hunting and forest sector inspectorate) have been dispatched to the die-off site to investigate. An approximate number of dead antelopes exceeds 400.
Ministry of Agriculture held a briefing on saiga antelopes die-off problem some time ago. It named pasteurellosis disease as the most likely cause of the saiga mortality.
The saiga (Saiga tatarica) is a critically endangered antelope that originally inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe zone from the foothills of the Carpathians and Caucasus into Dzungaria and Mongolia. They also lived in North America during the Pleistocene. Today the nominate subspecies (Saiga tatarica tatarica) is only found in one location in Russia (steppes of the North-West Precaspian region) and three areas in Kazakhstan (the Ural, Ustiurt and Betpak-dala populations.)
Pasteurellosis is a bacterial disease caused by Pasteurella species in wild and domesticated animals, as well as humans. The name is sometimes used interchangeably with the so-called shipping fever, a specific type of pasteurellosis that commonly attacks cattle under stress, as during shipping.