Saturday, March 17, 2018

Antelope Deaths in Kazakhstan

Image result for saiga

Environmental & Science Education
Climate Change
Nature of Science
Edward Hessler

In 2015, in just two days, 80 percent of a herd of Saiga antelope in Kazakhstan died. Two days later the entire herd was dead.

The government team which witnessed these deaths was there for a different reason. They were collecting data on calving success in a herd of this endangered species, one of the most endangered of mammals. It was soon learned that these deaths were widespread. In another area of Kazakhstan 200,000 died in a month's time. This represented two-thirds of the entire global population.

There are two triggers to the long-term decline of the Saiga, both profoundly related to humans. One is the collapse of an economy due to deep and sweeping social change. It led to extreme poaching. The most recent trigger appears to be that between humans and global climate change.

This video shows how scientists approached the cause of sudden respiratory death, squeezing everything they could from the evidence. 

For more information, especially about this magnificent antelope see the Saiga Conservation Alliance. Saiga evolved under very extreme winter and summer conditions.

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