Using a flagship species to catalyze policy changes

Publié: 22 septembre 2022
Dernière modification: 23 septembre 2022

In this case, the saiga is used to catalyze this incredible protection initiative which also aims to re-establish self-sustaining populations of other original large steppe grazing herbivores - Przewalski’s horse, kulan and goitered gazelle as well as understand the role of the ‘steppe’ wolf in maintaining healthy populations of saiga antelopes and to ensure that all these areas, their rich wildlife and local communities can be sustained economically in the long term.


Collecte de données de base et suivi des données et connaissances
Communication et sensibilisation
Activités d'éducation, de formation et de renforcement des capacités
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Mise en oeuvre

Enabling factors

The key enabling factor for this is a tremendous partnership between multiple conservation organizations and the Government of Kazakhstan, which has always viewed this project as a long-term process.


The initiative is implemented by the ACBK with the support of the Committee of Forestry and Wildlife of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan, Fauna & Flora International, Frankfurt Zoological Society, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and it complements the work of the national authorities. 

Lessons learned

The saiga experienced a massive die-off in 2015. Climatic conditions transformed a usually harmless bacterial infection into a dangerous outbreak that killed more than 60% of the saiga antelope. More than 200,000 saiga antelope died of a virulent infection over a 3-week period. A bacterium (Pasteurella multocida) was identified as the cause which caused extensive internal bleeding. The bacterium does not typically harm healthy saiga, which suggested that an environmental factor might have made the microbe more dangerous. The team analysed weather data from 1979 to the mid-2010s, a period that included three mass die-offs of saiga — in 1981, 1988 and 2015. They found that the outbreaks were linked to relatively high daily temperatures and humidity levels.


Careful management is needed to protect the remaining populations of this critically endangered species, especially in the face of climate change

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