There have been 2 saiga days held in Kalmykia this year. One in the town of Yashkul’ and one in the steppe village of Adyk. Since the start of 2014 one Steppe Wildlife Club has been established in Kalmykia, in the village of Adyk, named ‘Bamb Tceteg’ after the areas remarkable wild tulips. This brings the total number of Steppe Wildlife Clubs to three, but many more schools have been involved in Saiga Days and excursions to the saiga centre.
Yashkul’ secondary school invited Steppe Wildlife Clubs from 6 other schools in the region to Saiga Day. In total there were about 130 pupils and 60 adults, many of whom teachers. They also invited representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Education to the celebration. The day opened with speeches from Head teacher, the Director of the Centre for Wild Animals and the Ministry representatives. This was followed by a series of ‘spectacles’ performed by the different school groups, many of which involved song and dance. The performances were poignant anecdotes for a range of environmental issues, some relating to ancient Kalmyk folklore and others representing the current plight of the saiga antelope.
After lunch, four competition stations were organised – a poetry workshop, music and dance, drawing and a poster competition. The winner from the poster competition, ‘protect saigas’, will be printed and distributed around the village. The day ended with prize giving and closing speeches.
Adyk’s Steppe Wildlife Club ‘Bamb Tceteg’, formed this year, invited Yashkul’ and Sarul pupils to their first Saiga Day. In total there were about 60 pupils present and 30 adults. Mr Grigorievich, a famous Kalmyk poet, was invited and delivered a profound speech regarding the extinction of wild horses from the Kalmyk steppe. Similarly to Yashkul’, performances of song, dance and spoken word followed the speeches. A highlight was a presentation given by 3 ten-year-old girls who had been researching the areas tulip species.
In total there have been 2 saiga days this year. But the Centre for Wild Animals of Kalmykia has also organised lectures and excursions for 5 schools to visit the saiga captive breeding centre over the forthcoming months. The next is scheduled for the 16th of May.