Kazakhstan Plans to Domesticate Saiga Antelopes

ASTANA – Kazakhstan intends to place 1,800 saiga fawns into their natural habitats in semi-free conditions for scientific research, with 750 million tenge (US$1.6 million) allocated for a three-year plan to domesticate these antelopes. The information was provided in a report by the Forestry and Wildlife Committee of the Kazakh Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources at a Jan. 30 press briefing. 

Press briefing of the Kazakh Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources at a Jan. 30. Photo credit: gov.kz

The Committee’s Deputy Chairperson, Andrey Kim, noted the West Kazakhstan Agro-Technical University is working on organizing specialized nurseries and introducing saiga antelopes as agricultural animals. The Institute of Zoology will be engaged in this project as well.

A group of scientists plans to obtain a permit to regulate the saiga population for further processing and for the selling of meat and horns to solve the problem of a rise in wild steppe antelopes that inflict damage on agricultural fields. 

Photo credit: gov.kz

Researchers emphasized the importance of establishing meat processing plants, which will be in high demand, considering the nutritional properties of saiga meat.

Kazakhstan is home to nearly 90 percent of the world’s population of saiga antelopes. Domestication is one of the most efficient solutions to preserve them, added Kim.

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