The last 30 years have not been kind to the saiga. The break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 triggered a poaching free-for-all and the loss of more than 95% of the global population, a catastrophe followed by successive mass die-off events.
But last year a census revealed a more-than doubling of Kazakhstan’s saiga population over just two years to 334,400, a real fillip for a species on the brink. And in the last few weeks conservationists have once again been celebrating (cautiously) after the discovery that the smallest and most threatened population of saiga in Kazakhstan has experienced its largest mass calving in recent years.
The 530 calves born to the Ustyurt Plateau population of saiga represents the largest number of calves recorded in recent years by the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK), a partner of Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in the country. And ACBK was there to record one of the calves taking its first tentative steps! MORE
Header image: Bakhtiyar Taikenov/ACBK.