We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017/8 Award for Excellence in Saiga Conservation

Project 1

Inzhieva Gerel Davaevna, part of the national Preschool Educational Institution in Russia will be creating “The Saiga Trail” for pre-schoolers in Russia. Which has the potential to be rolled out to other countries too.

She’ll be working with specialists in saiga ecology and members of the Saiga Conservation Alliance in Russia to create a game which depicts a steppe ecosystem, with saigas at its heart. Through the game children will be able to imagine what it’s like to be a saiga, understanding the habitat, learning about relationships between animals, and understanding the main threats to saigas and what factors can impact their lives. Through the game children will gain an understanding of how to conserve saigas and the value of natural world around them.

All pieces of the game will be made by hand the ancient folk craft of Kalmyk people, felt or using clay and coloured sand.

Project 2

Vladimir Kalmykov leads a dedicated team of rangers in the Stepnoi Sanctuary in Kalmykia, Russia. He is proud to say that at the saiga census he saw the population increase to over 5,000 saigas, no doubt in part due to the tireless work of his team.

Vladimir notes that saiga conservation would be impossible without the support of the local villagers shepherds and farmers who surround the sanctuary and with this in mind he is creating a special information leaflet for them, which he will distribute during lectures and meetings in these villages and farms. He is also planning to host visitors from within Russia and from overseas.

He has planned an eco trail through the sanctuary and plans to take interested visitors on these guided tours so that they can see the incredible nature which he protects, first-hand.

Finally, Vladimir will use part of his award to ensure the continued protection on the saigas, through supporting his rangers with petrol and spare parts for their vehicles with will ensure 27/7 monitoring of saigas 365 days a year.

Project 3

The Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan’s project is based on strengthening the work on education and awareness of people about the conservation of the Steppe and it key species, through the development of environmental and photo tourism in the territory of the Alty Sai Environmental Park, as well as the organisation of a children’s educational camp, and by carrying out lectures for students in local schools.

The project will also use new methods for monitoring the wildlife in the territory of the ecological park, in particular they will be testing a drone’s ability to monitoring. This approach will allow them to strengthen and supplement the ground monitoring of saigas, improve their protection, and obtain new information.

We’re excited to be supporting these three projects and look forward to keeping you posted on their progress.

We’d like to thank the Wildlife Conservation Network for making this possible

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