Saving Saigas: Projects Around the World

Photo by Eugeny Polonsky

Our projects span two decades of studying and protecting the critically endangered saiga antelope.

We start with sound science, working with local citizens to survey saiga populations and their environment, monitoring their health and threats to their survival.

Knowledge we gain is used for education, and we train students and young scientists and work with NGOs and schools in the saiga range areas to carry out saiga-related projects.

Through close interaction with law enforcement agencies, we also contribute towards the training of rangers who protect the herd from poachers.


Women’s Embroidery Project

To encourage people to stop buying saiga meat in local markets and thus decrease the demand for poaching, SCA helps women set up embroidery collectives. The new income the women receive from selling the embroidery allows them to transition from buying saiga meat to buying more expensive sheep meat. The income can also lessen a husband’s need to poach saiga to provide for his family.

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Saiga Day Celebration

Saiga Day was conceived by the SCA as an international initiative to create a focus within rural communities for conservation of the saiga and its habitat. The festivities take place each spring to mark the birth of the first saiga calves of the year, and is a celebration of life which unites communities across the saiga’s range under a common symbol.

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Saving Saiga

Across The Steppe

The SCA works to save saigas throughout their range:

In Russia we work closely with the wonderful Center for Wild Animals in Kalmykia, a captive breeding and research facility for saigas, which has links to local schools. We also support the Saiga Day festivities, Steppe Wildlife Clubs and Wild Camps run in these schools.

Here we work closely with local NGO Partner the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan, supporting its efforts to conserve saigas and their environment wherever we can.

WWF-Mongolia is our in-country partner here. The NGO is very active carrying out much needed scientific research, which we support through the allocation of small grants.

Our partners in Uzbekistan are incredibly active and we fully support their ground-breaking work with children, local communities and government. They carry our much needed research into saiga populations in rural areas using novel technologies.

Sadly, saigas no longer roam wild in China, but we support our partner WCS-China’s efforts to stop the illegal trade of “medicinal” products made from saiga antelope horn.