Horsemen participation in Mongolian saiga conservation | WWF

Horsemen participation in Mongolian saiga conservation



Posted on 01 October 2018
According to organizers, 40 horsemen were involved in a four-day journey, and they met about 500 herders from 228 families who lived in the saiga range
© WWF Mongolia
This year, poor pasture and  harsh winter condition is expected in most areas of the Altai Sayan region, which may decline the number of Mongolian saiga antelopes. Moreover, many herders live in the Mongolian saiga range that is interlinked to grass shortage for wildlife and domestic animals. Therefore, WWF-Mongolia organized a "Horsemen" campaign on 20-23 September, 2018 to hear herders' comments on how to properly use pasture and to promote Mongolian saiga importance. Particularly, the campaign was organized for the first time. Herdsmen and civil servants participated in the campaign, and they only propagated by horse rides. According to  organizers, 40 horsemen were involved in a four-day journey, and they met about 500 herders from 228 families who lived in the saiga range and presented a importance of pasture and Mongolian saiga.   
Herders say "Mongolian saigas are very rare this year. It’s unbelievable how sparse they are. Seems like it’s going to be a rough winter because of less food source for them". They also shared their views on pasture. "Pasture use should be timely. There is a lack of legal regulation. Instead of having more livestock, it is important to have a small number of livestock that are economically and financially usable. It should be reasonable to pay livestock tax”. Herders agreed that without pasture, livestock and wild animals would not survive. Participants summed up their work and made a plan for future. This includes numerous works such as performing survey on illegal hunting and habitat surveys, and promoting the importance of wild animals.
Over the past two years, Mongolian saiga number has dropped immensely due to goat plague disease, lack of food and harsh weather. There were less than 3,000 saigas in April 2018. As of 2014, the Mongolian saiga population reached 14,000 and expanded its range. Unfortunately, the number of saigas has declined dramatically in the end of 2016. Although the prevalence of the disease has ceased, the continued drought and food shortages in 2017 and 2018 causes decrease in Mongolian saiga population.  
 
According to organizers, 40 horsemen were involved in a four-day journey, and they met about 500 herders from 228 families who lived in the saiga range
© WWF Mongolia Enlarge
Herders say "Mongolian saigas are very rare this year. It’s unbelievable how sparse they are. Seems like it’s going to be a rough winter because of less food source for them".
© WWF Mongolia Enlarge