In the summer of 2013 Leejiah Dorward, a student on Imperial College London’s Conservation Science MSc, visited Kalmykia to work with the Centre for Wild Animals to assess the success of the participatory monitoring project to date.

While the data collected by the farmers cannot be used to calculate the size of the Pre-Caspian saiga population it did show reductions in the numbers and sizes of herds suggesting that the Pre-Caspian population is still falling and continues to be threatened by poaching.

Interviews carried out with monitors and other farmers showed the majority of famers have generally positive attitudes towards saiga. For future participatory monitoring projects it was found that preferentially employing poorer steppe inhabitants as monitors would increase the chances of positive messages about saiga reaching those engaged with saiga poaching, and so would be most likely to reduce the poaching pressure on saigas.

To read Leejiah’s thesis visit:

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