Saiga boom in Kazakhstan

Saiga boom in Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan, a census of the saiga population took place in the spring of 2020. The last census in 2019 counted 334,400 individuals. In 2020, because of the pandemic, there was no work on the census of the saiga population, and scientists were anxiously awaiting the results of the census. The numbers were staggering! 842,000 individuals, a 150 percent increase in two years.

As seen in the data from the 2003 saiga census, 18 years ago there were only 21 thousand saiga antelopes living in Kazakhstan. Since then, the Kazakh government has made great efforts to protect the species, taking decisive action against poaching and designating several new protected areas. The measures, despite the setback caused by the 2015 mass die-off, have been very successful. At that time, more than half of Kazakhstan's saiga population died due to a bacterial infection. Only about 100,000 animals survived.

A good forage base and a successful anti-poaching campaign were certainly the two main reasons for the impressive growth of the saiga population. The unusually good reproductive capacity of saigas also played a role.

Source: Journal of the Zoological Society of Frankfurt, Germany Gorilla (No. 2, 2021)