Critically endangered saiga antelope population increases

Following the results of the 2014 aerial survey of saiga antelope numbers in Kazakhstan it was possible to assess the success of conservation measures taken by conservationists and local people to protect them.

An aerial survey was carried out under the State Programme on conservation, reproduction and sustainable use of Kazakhstan’s fauna, on April 9th – May 1st, 2014, by the Association of the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK) with staff from the central and regional branches of Ohotzooprom.

In total the field team took 230 flight hours to cover all three of Kazakhstan’s saiga populations: Betpakdala (Karaganda and Kostanai provinces); Ustyurt (Aktyubinsk province); and Ural (West Kazakhstan province).

Findings were very encouraging and showed the only increase in saiga populations across the saiga’s ranges. The results showed that saiga population numbers had increased by 37% compared to 2013, totalling more than 256,000 individuals. The lowest number of saiga antelopes was recorded in 2003, at just 21,000 individuals.

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