Antelopes die in Kazakhstan

However, the main threat to the animals is poaching.

Over the past two years in western Kazakhstan killed thousands of saiga. The study of mass destruction will saiga Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems. For these purposes, the Kazakh government has allocated 80 million tenge (about 500,000 dollars).

In announcing the allocation of funds, the chairman of the Committee for Forestry and Hunting of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan Yerlan Nysanbayev said he did not know how big the threat of mass animal deaths this year.

In spring 2010, in a relatively short period of time killed some 12,000 saiga. Scientists say that a mass death had never before experienced.

As a result of a mysterious illness just days killed entire herds of antelope. Mainly females and cubs died.

Eyewitnesses recall that the whole steppe habitat Saiga in western Kazakhstan was littered with the corpses of animals.

Veterinarians suggest that steppe antelope died in agony: before death, they were hardly able to move, and his mouth was entering foam.

According to one version, after the delivery exhausted camki antelope were to search for food and water, but there was no water, and the only food was growing in spring grass hollows that could be poisonous.

Research the causes of death of the animals were carried out in several laboratories. The reason in most cases has been called infectious disease pasteurellosis.

Professor at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Richard Koch, who was invited to Kazakhstan as an expert, suggests that antelopes could die from overeating.
"Export" horns

But one of the main threats to the population included in the Red Book remains poaching animals.

The hunt for the saiga in Kazakhstan is officially banned, but it does not stop poachers. Valuable in the steppe antelope is everything: skin, meat, but especially prized horn.

Special demand of saiga horns are in China, where they are used in the manufacture of various traditional medicines. And after the Soviet collapse, poachers began almost uncontrolled hunting saigas.

In the cities of Kazakhstan there are still some ads "Buy saiga horns." Often, the price comes to 12,000 tenge ($ 80) a pair.

According to the state enterprise "Ohotzooprom" saiga population in Kazakhstan today has about 100 thousand. Prior to 2000, their number exceeded one million.

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