Mongolian saiga population hits 10,077

2021-11-22 11:42:49

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Every year, experts from WWF-Mongolia together with Saiga Ranger Network take on the immense task of counting Mongolian Saigas to monitor the population. The team completed the census in October 2021 and the number of Mongolian saiga population has increased to about 10,077 individuals. Last year, the census reported there were approximately 8,500 Mongolian saigas.

The number of Mongolian saigas is estimated by the linear transect method, with an average of 12,555 individuals in the Shargyn Gobi, Khuisiin Gobi, and Darviin Khooloi, which are the main distribution areas. At a 95 percent confidence level, there were at least 9,181 Mongolian saigas. The total number of Mongolian saigas is at least 10,077, with 896 individuals in the small populations of Mankhan, Zavkhan, and Khomin Tal. 

B.Gantulga, species officer from WWF-Mongolia said “Last summer was pleasant for saiga, unfortunately, it doesn’t happen every year. Therefore, the parties shall continue their strong conservation efforts. Also, special preparation should be taken this winter, as heavy snow falls are expected this winter. It is also important to note the recent high incidence of infectious animal diseases in the saiga range”

Although the Mongolian saiga population has grown substantially, this is not a source of relief because the threats are serious that droughts, overgrazing and infectious diseases could still have devastating effect on vulnerable population of the Mongolian saiga.

As of 2014, there were 15,000 Mongolian saigas. Unfortunately, thousands of Mongolian saigas died in 2017 due to the goat plague and dzud (combined effect of the lack of grass, extreme temperature and heavy snowfall). Thus, the reintroduction of Mongolian saiga and the creation of several independent populations can reduce the risk of drought, dzud, and infectious diseases substantially. Researchers also pointed out that the protection of Mongolian saiga range by the State and the reduction of illegal hunting is a way to save this extremely rare species from extinction.         

Source: WWF Mongolia