Support for Leading Saiga Breeding Centre

This wonderful centre, run by professor Yuri Arylov was established in 2002 with funding from the local Kalmyk government in order to address the devastating decline in saigas across the region.

The CWA was founded primarily as a saiga breeding centre, in order to maintain a saiga gene pool and to breed and raise captive saigas. However, since its opening the centre has done so much more to help this critically endangered species.

The CWA was the world’s first saiga breeding centre, leading the way in best practice in this field, starting with a handful of saigas and quickly establishing a herd of up to 150 animals which roam across its 800 hectares.

The centre also carries out and facilitates critical scientific research into saiga ecology and behaviour, hosting visiting researchers from all around the world to work on topics such as: The restoration of degraded steppe pastures, investigating the saiga’s unique nasal cavity, using cutting edge technology such as satellites to monitor saiga herds, and developing a saiga milk formula for weak and abandoned new-born calves.

The centre works hard to engage the local community, sharing with them the importance of all steppe inhabitants and how we can all play a role in saving saigas, it hosts dignitaries, overseas students, tourists and volunteers as well as scores of local school children each year, who all come specifically to learn about saigas and to see them first hand. The centre has helped local schools to set up Steppe Wildlife Clubs for children, helping them to teach children about saiga conservation and the importance of steppe biodiversity, and even supports their yearly Saiga Day celebrations.

Unfortunately, the centre was dealt a devastating blow in 2014 when it lost many of its captive population of saigas to a mystery illness, and shortly after the Kalmyk government withdrew its funding. The Russian Federal government has agreed to continue supporting the important work of the centre, however, there is still uncertainty around when funding will become available and the centre has been left without funds since October 2014.

Due to this lack of funds the centre was recently forced to close its doors to visitors, and has had to postpone all community outreach activities and scientific research, it was even struggling to feed the saigas. However, until the promised funding does arrive the SCA is committed to supporting Yuri and his team with their essential work and will be providing critically needed funds. Additionally, SCA volunteer Sean Denny recently ran a half marathon, and is generously donating all the money he raised to help support the centre’s critical work.

If you would like to help us raise funds to help save saigas you can donate here (every penny helps):

US supporters please visit:

To find out more about the centre watch a clip about it here:

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