Saiga Antelope: Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

by DerdriuMarriner

The saiga antelope needs anti-poaching enforcement, captive breeding, and habitat protection in Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Saiga antelopes favor lightly vegetated, 4921.26-foot (1,500-meter) altitudes

Being described and getting identified scientifically by Carl Linnaeus (May 23, 1707 – January 10, 1778), Swedish-born father of modern ecology and taxonomy, assure attention from science-minded generations of the eighteenth century onward.

Such a niche within taxonomic history brings ecosystem and mammal specialists to the Central Asian countries of:
• Kazakhstan;
• Mongolia;
• Russia (Republic of Kalmykia);
• Turkmenistan;
• Uzbekistan.
The saiga antelope indeed continues to inspire into the twenty-first century biological, ecological, taxonomic, and zoological inspection, interest, and investigation as:
• native mammals of extreme steppe environments;
• plucky survivors of harsh continental weather;
• redoubtable victims of severe human-directed predation.

Mysteries in fact deepen concerning twentieth and twenty-first century experiences with alarming die-offs and quick recoveries from:
• compromised immunity;
• contagious illnesses.

*****

Websites:
https://www.facebook.com/Saiga-Conservation-Alliance-218133734890571/timeline/
http://www.saiga-conservation.com/

*****

Monument honors saiga antelopes in Republic of Kalmykia (Республика Калмыкия), which shares today's saiga homelands with eastern neighbor, Astrakhan Oblast.

Republic of Kalmykia, Southern Federal District, southwestern Russia; Thursday, July 17, 2014, 16:17
Republic of Kalmykia, Southern Federal District, southwestern Russia; Thursday, July 17, 2014, 16:17

Saiga antelopes go over 49.71+-mile (80+-kilometer) routes daily

 

Conjectures and contradictions quickly emerge respecting saiga antelopes. The even-numbered-toed ungulates currently fit into:

  • two species, Saiga borealis (northern antelope) and Saiga tataricus (Tatarian antelope); or
  • two subspecies, Saiga tataricus mongolica and Saiga tataricus tataricus.

They get through 10- to 12-year life cycles and natural histories thanks to realizing respectively juvenile and mature speeds of 24.85 and 49.71 miles per hour (40 and 80 kilometers per hour) despite:

  • sagging face;
  • spindly legs;
  • stocky bodies;
  • sturdy 7.99- to 10.04-inch (20.3- to 25.5-centimeter) horns.

They amiably herd into:

  • breeding-season harems of 5 to 15;
  • spring migrants of 10 to 2,000;               
  • summer subgroups of 30 to 40.

Yet mating season inspires 90+% of all males to fight to the death. 

 

fighting male saiga antelopes

photo by American conservation biologist Richard P. Reading; Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 11:48
photo by American conservation biologist Richard P. Reading; Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 11:48

Saiga antelopes have super-noses cooling, moistening, warming respirations

 

Mammalogists judge saiga antelopes as intermediate between antelopes and sheep. They know of:

  • breeding November to January;
  • delivering after 139- to 152-day gestations 7.72-pound (3.5-kilogram) singles or twins in April/May;
  • feeding other than upon milk at four months;
  • having 23.62- to 31.49-inch (60- to 80-centimeter) head-body lengths, 39.37- to 55.12-inch (100- to 140-centimeter) shoulder heights, 2.36- to 4.72-inch (6- to 12-centimeter) tail lengths, and 63.93- to 115.12-pound (29- to 69-kilogram) weights for 20+-month-old females and 24+-month-old males;
  • juggling sexual maturity of 12+-month-old females and 19+-month-old males;
  • letting cooling/moistening/warming breaths in, siphoning dust out.

They label them keystone obligates for hydrating twice daily and ingesting such diverse plants as:

  • alfalfas, clovers, sainfoins, saltworts;
  • forbs;
  • grasses;
  • lichens;
  • mosses;
  • shrubs. 

 

articulated skeleton of Saiga tatarica: mounted specimen (catalog # USNM A 22978) in Osteology Hall's Hall of Bones, 2nd Floor, West Wing

Collector and locality listed as unknown but specimen lot notes suggests "Perhaps associated with skin 16223 (fm H.A. Ward)" [naturalist and geologist Henry Augustus Ward (March 9, 1834–July 4, 1906)]
Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Vertebrate Zoology Department/Mammals Division, Washington D.C.
Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Vertebrate Zoology Department/Mammals Division, Washington D.C.

Saiga antelopes impress eagles, foxes, livestock, people, wolves

 

Descendants of Ice Age contemporaries of saber-toothed tigers (Smilodon populator) and woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) mature into:

  • camouflaged bearers of cinnamon summer and white winter coats;
  • susceptible hosts of Clostridia perfringens and Pasteurella multocida;
  • vulnerable prey of agricultural developers, hide/hoof/horn poachers, livestock ranchers, meat hunters, and road builders.

They therefore need anti-poaching enforcement, captive breeding, and habitat protection throughout:

  • native bio-geographies in Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia;
  • winter ranges in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

They operate within contexts of:

  • populations plummeting from 2,000,000+ in 1958 to 250,000 in 2015;
  • ranges reduced from Asia, Europe, and northwest North America to Central Asia.

 

Nothing provokes urgency more than May/June’s 160,000+ casualties from 2014/2015’s mega-winter toxifying bacteria into internally rupturing saiga antelopes. 

 

a herd of saiga antelopes (Saiga tatarica) in Cherniye Zemli (Black Earth) Nature Reserve, which was created June 11, 1990, in Russian Republic of Kalmykia to protect Tatarian antelopes

On December 3, 1993, Cherniye Zemli was designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
Republic of Kalmykia, Southern Federal District, southwestern Russia; Sunday, April 28, 2013, 13:48
Republic of Kalmykia, Southern Federal District, southwestern Russia; Sunday, April 28, 2013, 13:48

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

 

Image Credits

 

Monument honors saiga antelopes in Republic of Kalmykia (Республика Калмыкия), which shares today's saiga homelands with eastern neighbor, Astrakhan Oblast.
Republic of Kalmykia, Southern Federal District, southwestern Russia; Thursday, July 17, 2014, 16:17: BazIv, CC BY SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:РК.jpg

fighting male saiga antelopes
photo by American conservation biologist Richard P. Reading; Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 11:48: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters (USFWS Headquarters), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/6383860215/; CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saiga_Fight_3_(6383860215).jpg

articulated skeleton of Saiga tatarica: mounted specimen (catalog # USNM A 22978) in Osteology Hall's Hall of Bones, 2nd Floor, West Wing
Collector and locality listed as unknown but specimen lot notes suggests "Perhaps associated with skin 16223 (fm H.A. Ward)" [naturalist and geologist Henry Augustus Ward (March 9, 1834–July 4, 1906)]
Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Vertebrate Zoology Department/Mammals Division, Washington D.C.: Cliff (cliff1066™), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/3591172758/

a herd of saiga antelopes (Saiga tatarica) in Cherniye Zemli (Black Earth) Nature Reserve, which was created June 11, 1990, in Russian Republic of Kalmykia to protect Tatarian antelopes
On December 3, 1993, Cherniye Zemli was designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
Republic of Kalmykia, Southern Federal District, southwestern Russia; Sunday, April 28, 2013, 13:48: Игорь Шпиленок (Igor Shpilenok), CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saiga_tatarica_in_Chyornye_zemli_nature_reserve.jpg

a pair of saiga antelopes (Saiga tatarica) brought to Zoological Society of London's Gardens in November 1866 and subsequently purchased by ZSL
1867 illustration by Joseph Wolf (January 21, 1820 – April 20, 1899); lithograph by Joseph Smit (July 18, 1836 – November 4, 1929)
P.L. Sclater and Oldfield Thomas, The Book of Antelopes, Vol. III (1897-1898), Pl. XLIX, opp. p. 31: Not in copyright, via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/42167663

mother saiga and calf in the steppe in Cherniye Zemli (Black Earth) Nature Reserve, Republic of Kalmykia, Southern Federal District, southwestern Russia
photo by Igor Shpilenok; Saturday, May 16, 2009, 16:23:19: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters (USFWS Headquarters), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/6383856545/

 

a pair of saiga antelopes (Saiga tatarica) brought to Zoological Society of London's Gardens in November 1866 and subsequently purchased by ZSL

1867 illustration by Joseph Wolf (January 21, 1820 – April 20, 1899); lithograph by Joseph Smit (July 18, 1836 – November 4, 1929)
P.L. Sclater and Oldfield Thomas, The Book of Antelopes, Vol. III (1897-1898), Pl. XLIX, opp. p. 31
P.L. Sclater and Oldfield Thomas, The Book of Antelopes, Vol. III (1897-1898), Pl. XLIX, opp. p. 31

Sources Consulted

 

“Critically endangered Saiga Antelope Vital for Preservation of World’s Largest Grasslands.” Large Herbivore Network > News. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.lhnet.org/critically-endangered-saiga-antelope-vital-for-preservation-of-world-s-largest-grasslands/

Ghose, Tia. 2 September 2015. “Photos: A Mass Die-off of the Endangered Saiga Antelope.” Live Science > Animals. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.livescience.com/52053-photos-saiga-die-off.html

Gray, J.E. (John Edward). 1867. "Recent Additions to the Society's Menagerie." Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London (February 28, 1867): 240.

  • Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library at: http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/29533680
  • Plate of Saiga tatarica by Joseph Wolf available at: http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/29534573

Gray, Richard. 4 September 2015. “Mystery of What Killed 200,000 Antelope in One Month Solved? Normally Harmless Bacteria Appear to Have Turned on the Endangered Animals.” Daily Mail > Science. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3222177/Mystery-killed-60-000-antelope-four-DAYS-solved-Normally-harmless-bacteria-appear-turned-endangered-animals.html

Grzimek, Bernhard. 2003. Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia. Mammals I-V Edited by Melissa C. McDade. 17-Volume Second Edition under the Supervision of Michael Hutchins. Detroit, MI, U.S.A.: Gale.

Huffman, Brent. “Saiga tatarica: Saiga antelope.” Ultimate Ungulate > Artiodactyla. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Saiga_tatarica.html

Mallon, D.P. 2008. Saiga tatarica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T19832A9021682. Retrieved September 25, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T19832A9021682.en . 

  • Available @ http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/19832/0

Nicholls, Henry. 12 June 2015. "134,000 Saiga Antelope Dead in Two Weeks. What is the Probable Cause?" The Guardian > Science > Animal Magic. Retrieved September 25, 2015. 

  • Available @ http://www.theguardian.com/science/animal-magic/2015/jun/12/134000-saiga-antelope-dead-in-two-weeks-what-is-the-probable-cause

Nowak, Ronald M. 1999. Walker’s Mammals of the World. Volume II. Sixth Edition. Baltimore, MD, U.S.A.; and London, England, U.K.: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

"131. Saiga/Mongolia Saiga (Saiga tatarica).” Edge: Evolutionarily Distinct & Globally Endangered > Species > Mammals. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.edgeofexistence.org/mammals/species_info.php?id=62

Pascoe, Lauren. “Saiga tatarica: saiga.” Animal Diversity Web (on-line). Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/saiga_tatarica/

“Saiga.” BBC >  Nature Wildlife > Animals > Mammals. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Saiga_Antelope

“Saiga Antelope.” Blue Planet Biomes. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/saiga.htm

“Saiga Antelope.” U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service > CITES > Species Information > Animals. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.fws.gov/international/animals/saiga-antelope.html

“Saiga Antelope.” World Wide Fund for Nature > What We Do > Priority Species > Antelope. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/saiga_antelope/

“Saiga Antelope -- Saiga Conservation Alliance.” Wildlife Conservation Network > Wildlife Programs. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://wildnet.org/wildlife-programs/saiga-antelope

“Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica).” Arkive > Species > Mammals. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.arkive.org/saiga-antelope/saiga-tatarica/

“Saiga Antelope – Saiga tatarica.” Large Herbivore Network > Species > Large Herbivore Database > Antelopes, Gazelles (Artiodactyla Bovidae Antilopinae). Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.lhnet.org/saiga-antelope/

"Saigas." Saiga Conservation Alliance. Retrieved September 25, 2015. 

  • Available @ http://www.saiga-conservation.com/saigas.html

Sclater, Philip Lutley, and Oldfield Thomas. 1897-1898. The Book of Antelopes. In four volumes (1894 - 1900). Vol. III. London: R.H. Porter.

  • Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library at: http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/42167622

Worland, Justin. 31 May 2015. “Half of an Endangered Antelope Population Has Died within Weeks.” Time Inc. Network: Science > Animals. Retrieved September 25, 2015.

  • Available @ http://time.com/3902643/saiga-antelope-dying-science/

 

mother saiga and calf in the steppe in Cherniye Zemli (Black Earth) Nature Reserve, Republic of Kalmykia, Southern Federal District, southwestern Russia

photo by Igor Shpilenok
photo by Igor Shpilenok
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Walker's Mammals of the World by Ronald M. Nowak ~ Two-volume set. Sixth edition.

Ernest P. Walker's comprehensive reference guide, Mammals of the World, revised and updates. Provides complete account of every mammal genus throughout all historical time.
Walker's Mammals of the World (2-Volume Set)

Newborn Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica) Lying in Grass, Cherniye Zemli Nature Reserve, Kalmykia, Russia: Available as Photographic Print and as Premium Photographic Print ~ Available now via AllPosters

photo by Igor Shpilenok
Newborn Saiga Antelope (Saiga Tatarica) Lying in Grass, Cherniye Zemli Nr, Kalmykia, Russia

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 09/19/2022, DerdriuMarriner
 
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