SAIGA ANTELOPE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     14th December 2023        

Context: Recently, the Saiga (Saiga tatarica) species category was changed from Critically Endangered to Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Saiga Antelope

  • About: The Saiga, the odd-faced antelope that have roamed the earth since the last Ice Age, can hope to continue gamboling across the vast Eurasian Steppe.
  • Saiga has two sub-species: Saiga tatarica tatarica (found in most of the range) and Saiga tatarica mongolica (found only in Mongolia).
  • Distribution: The antelope were once found throughout the Eurasian Steppe, the great band of grassland that stretches from Hungary in Europe to Manchuria in Asia.
  • Currently, the animal is found in fragmented populations within Kazakhstan, Mongolia, the Russian Federation and Uzbekistan.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Near threatened
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Threat: Saigas have been a target of hunting since prehistoric ages, when hunting was an essential means to acquire food.

oSaigas are dependent on weather and affected by climate fluctuations to a great extent due to their migratory nature.