MONGOLIAN SAIGA | WWF

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Mongolian saiga

© WWF Mongolia

Nested target: Desert steppe ecosystem

Conservation goal

By 2025, the population size of Mongolian saiga are doubled and an area of occupied habitat is stable compared to 2020 level.

CONSERVATION TARGET CURRENT STATUS

There are two separate subspecies in the world under the name of Saiga antelope. One of them is Mongolian saiga –Saiga (Saiga borealis mongolica) which a) geographically b) morphologically and c) ecologically different from Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica tatarica) in Kazakhstan and Russia.

These differences were acknowledged at the 14th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP14, The Hague, 2007) these former two subspecies have been recognized by the CITES Parties as two distinct species, Saiga tatarica and Saiga borealis, and they have been listed separately in CITES Appendix II as such. The Mongolian saiga, whose total number had dropped down as low as 800 individuals in 2002, has indeed been recovering during the past decades thanks to generous support from WWF Network and MAVA Foundation.

However, the population is still in alarming condition and, regrettably, showing a declining trend. The Mongolian saiga occupies only 27 percent of its formerly known habitats. The population declined to over 3600 animals, 70 percent decline from 2014 due to goat plague  outbreak during 2016/2017 and harsh winter in 2017/2018, in which 40% of the population perished by May 2018. Although, the population size is gradually increased to at least 5070 individuals by January 2020, population size is still fragile to stochastic events and needs good conservation measures.

Major threats to Mongolian saiga include infectious disease - zoonosis, climate change – natural disaster, overgrazing, poaching and irresponsible mining and its associated linear infrastructure.

© WWF Mongolia