Stunning Video Features Mass River Crossing by Small Antelopes, Saigas, in Western Kazakhstan

NUR-SULTAN  – The video, where numerous saigas, small antelopes with distinctive short trunks, cross the river in Western Kazakhstan, went viral on social media, reported Kazinform agency. 

The species’ yellowish-red fur in warm months is replaced by a thicker light gray fur during wintertime. Photo credit: wwf.ru. Click to see the map in full size

The animal is included on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), where it has been listed as a critically endangered species since 2002. The hunting of animals is prohibited in Kazakhstan. 

According to the Kazakh Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity, there are three populations of species in the country: Betpakdaly population lives in Central Kazakhstan, Ustyurt population inhabits Mangystau, and Aktobe Regions and Uralsk population resides in Western Kazakhstan.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the saiga’s population in the country decreased significantly due to intensive hunting and poaching, but its number is growing now. 

“The population of saiga is 1,318,000 individuals by now, which is 56 percent higher than in 2021, when there were 842,000 saigas. This year, there are 801,000 Uralsk saigas, 28,000 Ustyurt saigas and 489,000 Betpakdaly saigas,” wrote eco-activist Saken Dildakhmet on his Facebook in late May. 

According to data given by Okhotzooprom national company, which is tasked with protecting nature and controlling the use, reproduction, and artificial breeding of animals and plants, almost 90 percent of the world’s saiga population lives in our country.

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