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South African experts study causes of saiga pestilence in Kazakhstan 07 июля 2015, 22:41

Causes of the recent massive die-out of rare saiga antelopes in Kazakhstan is studied by South African specialists.
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Photo courtesy of mgov.kz Photo courtesy of mgov.kz

Experts from South Africa will study the causes of massive saiga pestilence in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports citing Astana TV Channel's interview with Vice-Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan Yerlan Nysanbayev.

"A lot of experts are involved in the study of the massive die-out. You probably understand that this topic is very transparent and open. A few days ago experts from the Republic of South Africa arrived. They traveled to the site and examined it. Then they left and after some time they will present their version of the events," Nysanbayev said.

According to him, besides the experts from South Africa, the saiga mortality is being studied by a group of local experts.

"The expedition has left, it will continue its work until July 8. Today we know that the specialists are working on the migration routes. So far, there have been no results. But these are only field works, and it will take time to make the office work,” he added.

The number of dead saigas in Kazakhstan exceeded 134,000 - more than a third of the global population - in a matter of weeks. Saiga antelopes are among the species at risk of extinction. It used to inhabit vast areas of the Eurasian steppe zone but are now found only in three areas in Kazakhstan and one in Russia. 

The Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan believes that the most likely cause of the mass death of the rare species is pasteurellosis. UN experts have said the mass deaths are down to "a combination of biological and environmental factors."

By Dinara Urazova

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