Facts about this animal
The summer coat is 18-30 mm thick, the winter coat 40-70 mm, The colour of the coat is sandy. Males have a short mane on the neck.
Only the males carry horns, which are amber and translucent and can grow up to 55 cm and have are valued in the Chinese traditional medicine. After the break-up of the Soviet state, funding and infrastructure for saiga management has collapsed. This has led to uncontrolled large-scale poaching for meat and horns. Another reason for the rapid decline of the population was the very unbalanced sex ration. As only males are poached for their horns there were much more females than males, which resulted in a reproductive collapse.
The rutting season of the saiga is in December. The species is polygynous, with males herding harems of up to 50 females. In April / May the females usually give birth to twins. The lifespan of the saiga ranges from 5 to 12 years.
Did you know?
that the enlarged nose warms the air in winter and filters out the dust in summer?
|Name (Scientific)||Saiga tatarica|
|Name (English)||Saiga Antelope|
|Name (Spanish)||Antílope saiga, Saiga|
|CITES Status||Appendix II|
|CMS Status||Russian Saiga (Saiga tatarica tatarica): Appendix II|
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|Range||Southeastern Europe and Central Asia (China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan)|
|Habitat||Steppes and semi-desert regions|
|Wild population||The global population is now around 50,000 individuals, down from 1,250,000 in the mid-1970s. Most are found in Kazakhstan (decline from 1,000,000 to 30,000) (Reference: IUCN Red List)|
|Zoo population||15 held at three institutions reported to ISIS (2008)|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Requirement 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
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Why do zoos keep this animal
Saiga populations have declined dramatically in recent years. Maintaining a viable reserve population would be useful, however the saiga does not thrive well in the Atlantic climate of the majority of European zoos. Very few zoos therefore try to keep the species.