Saiga population doubles in Kazakhstan in 5 years 24 июня 2013, 14:13
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The population of saiga has grown almost 2.3-fold in 5 years in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews.kz reports citing the press-service of Kazakhstan Ministry of Environmental Protection. The Ministry notes that the population growth has not been affected even by poachers who hunt saiga for its horns used in Chinese medicine. “Despite of the roaming poaching fueled by the constantly growing demand for saiga horns in traditional Chinese medicine and also despite of the mass mortality from diseases in 2010-2012, the population of saiga has increased almost 2.3-fold over the last 5 years: from 61 thousand to 137 thousand,” the press-release states. According to the Ministry’s press-service, this became possible thanks to Kazakhstan's performance of its obligations under the memorandum of understanding and action plan signed by all the countries that are habitat to saiga. The Ministry also writes that 2.1 billion tenge ($14 million) have been allocated in Kazakhstan for implementation of the program on preservation of saiga. The saiga (Saiga tatarica) is a critically endangered antelope which originally inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe zone from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and Caucasus into Dzungaria and Mongolia. Today, the nominate subspecies (S. t. tatarica) is only found in one location in Russia (steppes of the northwest Precaspian region) and three areas in Kazakhstan (the Ural, Ustiurt and Betpak-dala populations). A proportion of the Ustiurt population migrates south to Uzbekistan and occasionally Turkmenistan in winter. It is extinct in China and southwestern Mongolia. The Mongolian subspecies (S. t. mongolica) is found only in western Mongolia.