| about | news | publications | documents | gallery | bibliography | links |

"Information support for saiga conservation"

Фото Игоря Шпиленка


Foto by I. Shpilenok

Saiga (Saiga tatarica tatarica) - a unique migrant mammal that in the course of long evolution has well adapted to complicated habitat conditions in dry deserts and semi-deserts of Eurasia. Despite the relatively short life expectancy these animals have extremely high reproduction speed. This allows the population rehabilitate itself after the periods of high mortality caused by environmental stresses.

Quite recently this antelope was a common inhabitant of European and Central Asian steppes and semi-deserts. In Russia saiga could be found on the right bank of Volga in its lower reaches (territory of modern Republic of Kalmykiya and Astrakhan' region). Yet, in the process of human development of these areas, number and range of the population has been steadily decreasing.

However saiga remained numerous in Russia and Kazakhstan right up to the middle of the last century. Exactly from this moment tendency towards drastic population number decline resulting from increase of cattle load on pastures, degradation of habitats and anthropogenic stress could be traced. Urgent measures taken in 1970s to limit saiga hunting helped recruit number of animals to the level of 1950-s (700-800 thousands individuals) after which decrease recommenced.

Today, excessive and unregulated saiga hunting represents the biggest threat to the animal - its meat and especially horns are highly valued and demanded in traditional Chinese medicine. Another cause is disturbance of key habitats and usual saiga's migration routes. Saved from almost complete extinction in the middle of XX century, saiga populations are found to be endangered again. Now overall siaze of saiga population in Russia is extremely low and doesn't exceed 18 thousands individuals, with adult males making up from 1 to 10% (in "better" times). Thus, current situation is close to critical.

Saiga was included in the Annex to the II Convention on Migratory Species at the 7th conference of member-states (Bonn, Germany, September 2002) Also IUCN (International Union for Nature Conservation) categorized this specie in its Red List as "endangered" (2002).

Russian Committee for the UNESCO program "Man and Biosphere" (MAB), Laboratory of Mammal Landscape Ecology (Institute of Environmental and Evolution Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences), Biodiversity Conservation Center and other interested organizations are planning to develop and implement a system of measures aimed at preventing this unique specie from extinction.

Providing citizens with reliable and timely information, raising public awareness of the problem of saiga protection now takes on special significance. This page contains many useful materials on this issue.

We are looking forward to your response and proposals!

Contact information:

Biodiversity Conservation Center
ul. Vavilova, 41, office 2
Moscow, 117312, Russia
Tel.: +7 (499)-124-50-22
Fax: +7 (499)-124-71-78

Anna Luschekina
Russian Committee for MAB,
Laboratory of biodiversity conservation and use of bioresources
(Institute of Ecology and Evolution, RAS)
117312, Moscow Vavilov st. 41/5
Tel./Fax: + 7 (499) 124-79-32

Financial, technical and information support to the web site is provided by:


Large Herbivore Foundation

Trust for Endangered Species

Darwin Initiative


International Fund of Animal Welfare, IFAW

TNT Express


We faithfully thank them for the support!

We also thank all those who endowed for saiga conservation:


Fred Baerselman
(The Netherlands)

Kurt Johnson (USA)

Hartmut Jungius (Germany)



Steven Kohl (USA)


John Mackenzie-Grieve (UK)


Volker Radeloff (USA)



Steve Shurter (USA)


Richard Reading (USA)


Peter Ward (USA)



E. J. Milner-Gulland (UK)


Pavel Sorokin (Russia)



  • James Teer (USA)
  • Roland Wirth (Germany)
  • Angela Glatson (The Netherlands)
  • Carl Kurtz (USA)
  • Don Winstel (USA)
  • Margaret Bunzel-Druke (Germany)
  • Sue Lieberman (UK)
  • Arnulf Müller-Helmbreht (Germany)
  • Nida Al-Fulaij (UK)
  • Uli Graebener (Germany)
  • Paolo Verganti (Italy)
  • Doug Willoamson (UK)
  • Lee Stone (USA)
  • Tom Milner-Gulland (UK)
  • Piet Wit (Syzygy. The Netherlands)

Our young donators:

| about | news | publications | documents | gallery | bibliography | links | top |


The E-bulletin "Saiga News" No. 27 has been published (.pdf 3.2 Mb)


2010 International Year of Biodiversity Website launched in Montreal!
Russian Clearing-House mechanism on biological diversity

Volunteers Join Us




Copyright © 2000-2022 Biodiversity Conservation Center. All rights reserved