Save the Saiga

Help Save the Saiga

The saiga, a species of antelope native to the Central Asian steppes, was on the brink of extinction a few years back.  Dedicated work by conservationists brought their population from a low of 50, 000 up to 250,000 in 2014.  This May, however, an epidemic began ravaging their numbers, destroying entire saiga herds. The losses are horrific, estimated at over a third of the entire population in just a few weeks.  As detailed in this New York Times article, 120,000 dead saigas have been found, with new corpses regularly turning up [EDIT: the final number submitted by Kazakhstan to the OIE is 134,252.  The report can be found here].  Although there are some clues, scientists still do not know what has caused the mass die-off.  Immediate research is needed before a cure can be found.

What Is the Saiga?

The saiga is a species of antelope that roams the Central Asian grasslands and semi-deserts, mostly in Russia and Kazakhstan.  With it’s big, puffy nose, the saiga resembles a Dr. Seuss character.  The noses of males grow even more in mating season, possibly to attract females.

Saiga fight
Male saiga lock horns

These unique creatures are an important part of the ecology of the Eurasian steppes, migrating seasonally in herds of thousands of animals.  In centuries past, nomads of the steppe hunted saigas for their meat and horns, as part of their traditional lifestyle.  Land collectivization in the 20th century, as well as poaching in more recent years has wiped out their numbers.

How Can I Help?
Sad Saiga
Please help!

Support is urgently needed to help the saiga to survive this crisis.  Throughout the summer, Byzantine Emporia will be donating 25% of profits from the store and from sales of Essential Arganique to help restore their numbers.  This will go toward funding efforts to alleviate the immediate crisis, as well as on-going conservation.  You can also donate directly to the WCS via their webpage.     Please share this on Facebook and Twitter to help draw attention to this catastrophe.  Your help can make a difference!

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