Collared Mongolian gazelle was caught in poaching
WWF Mongolia’s recent assessment show that the Mongolian gazelle classified as least concern by IUCN, is facing serious and multiple threats that could lead to the extinction.
In the light of active exploration for building rail and paved road network to connect the mines in South and Eastern Mongolia to global and regional market, WWF-Mongolia has been working to identify crucial sections for wildlife crossing along the current and proposed railroads. Within this framework, a number of gazelles were collared with satellite collars to map out herd migration pattern.
Unfortunately, the exercise also revealed widespread poaching over Mongolian gazelle. In 2017 alone, out 13 collared gazelles, four (over 30%) were poached within a year, while only one collared gazelle were caught by wolves.
Until the ban in 2000, Mongolia exported annually 100 tons of gazelle meat (roughly 6,600 animals) to China and gazelle horns were of no interest to anyone. However, recent attempts for smuggling Mongolian gazelle horn to China in large quantities indicate that the species becoming victim of international illegal wildlife trade. Although, there is no concrete proof, it is likely being used as a substitute to rarer and better protected Saiga antelope to fill the demand for Chinese traditional medicine. Since 2010, in total approx. 100,218 (if we consider each horn weights 200 gr) individual Mongolian gazelle’s horn was confiscated in Mongolia and at the border points. The biggest case was detected by Chinese customs office at Mongolia-China border in 2015, involved with an attempt to smuggle 70,000 pairs of horns at once.