In 2014 Baljinnyam Batsaikhan was recognised by the SCA for his outstanding work to protect saigas. He is a state environmental inspector and a leader of the Saiga ranger network team, has been working with the WWF Mongolia Programme since 2006.
He supervises 12 Saiga rangers and about 60 volunteer rangers which cover over 14 thousand km2 of saiga territory in Mongolia. He works closely with communities and law enforcement agencies to eliminate illegal hunting and trade of saiga horn, striving to protect the 14,000 Mongolian saigas.
Illegal poaching is one of the major threats to the Mongolian Saiga. Baljinnyam has played a key role in the fight against wildlife crime, due to his efforts cooperation between law enforcement agencies has been improved and 89,4 % of the detected cases have been prosecuted by the courts, he has personally led detections of 57 cases of illegal hunting and crimes, whose offenders paid compensations of MNT 1 billion 200 million as of 2013.
Baljinnyam strongly believes that environmental education of children can change the behavior of adult family members involved in illegal hunting and trade, and has worked closely with kids’ eco clubs, which run conservation activities with assistance from WWF-Mongolia. Their aim is to create a new generation of people with ecologically-sustainable visions of nature conservation.
As incidents of illegal hunting are reduced and rational use of rangeland is introduced in local areas, the pressure and treats to Saiga antelope is reduced and positive impacts on Saiga antelope populations are seen. Consequently, the species populations are getting increased from year to year.
Baljinnyam is now focusing on building a saiga conservation supporter network concerned with improving natural resource management and stewardship by local communities. He is keen to improve community awareness towards nature and wildlife conservation, carrying out public awareness activities to reduce instances of poaching.
We are grateful to this incredible man and his team, who all go above and beyond their duties in the protection of saigas.