More than 4000 mongolian saigas die in a disease outbreak
WWF Mongolia participating in the working group, which consists of various organizations appointed by Ministry of Environment. Vice minister of Environment and Tourism Ts.Batbayar reported that the number of mongolian saigas died in Gobi-Altai province is 2030, Khovd province is 2010 and the total of more than 4000 mongolian saiga( according to February7) carcasses have been buried. 70 percent of total of lost saigas were calves. The local government agencies are working exactly in line with Mongolian legislation which requires to disinfect and bury all the infected bodies.
The working group presented an order and direction for the Governors of provinces where the outbreak occurred. First of all, they were given an order to do detailed research on herders livestock location, as well as limit the movement of livestock within certain area, and vaccinate livestock of some province.
Experts confirmed that the location of current disease outbreak is the same place as the previous quarantine was set. This evidence helped the experts to conclude that the saiga outbreak is infected from livestock. Another concern is that this outbreak will likely be continued until fresh grass will come up which is late April in this part of Mongolia. It means very difficult situation until late April with more deaths.
Mongolian saiga (Saiga tatarica mongolica) is one of the extremely rare species, where it’s only in Altai-Sayan ecoregion, Mongolia. Since 1998, WWF Mongolia has started conservation of Mongolian saiga with local governments and communities funded by different individual and donor organizations including Large herbivore Foundation, Hermsen Foundation and MAVA Foundation. As a result of joint conservation efforts the population reached 14600, and its range area expanded by 13% as of 2015. Due to the dzud, a natural disaster during winter of 2001/2002, the species population had been reduced down to 750 individuals.