This year the Small Grants Programme received 18 proposals from five countries and was generously supported by the Wildlife Conservation Network. At the end of October the SCA Steering Committee met in Almaty, Kazakhstan for their annual meeting and to discuss the applications. This year’s winners are:

Alexander Grachev (Kazakhstan), who will be carrying out research on the population structure and reproduction of the Ural saiga population. This is particularly vital work, because very little is known about the status of this population.

Makset Kosbergenov (Uzbekistan). The grant will help to improve the capacity of the Special Amu Darya Inspectors, who are carrying out crucial anti-poaching work in north-western Uzbekistan, where saiga poaching has been highlighted as a major issue preventing the recovery of the Ustiurt saiga population.

Tatiana Karimov (Russia), who will be carrying out research on the saiga’s feeding behaviour using a non-invasive method based on faecal composition. This is important because certain grasses are becoming more dominant in the Russian saiga range, and it is suspected that these are not eaten by saigas, hence a change in pasture management may be required to ensure population recovery potential is maximised.

Congratulations to all three winners!

The SCA are actively searching for funding to continue the Small Grants Programme in 2009. If you or anyone you know would like to sponsor the initiative, or if you would like to be informed when the competition opens for applications next year, please email us.

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