UPDATE- More Than 2500 Mongolian Saigas Die in a Disease Outbreak
Photo Credit: Nadezhda
Since last month the numbers of Mongolian saiga antelope killed from sheep and goat plague has increased from 500 to 2,500 and the epidemic is picking up speed. Our partners at Saiga Conservation Alliance (SCA) have launched a fundraising appeal in response to this recent outbreak sweeping through the Mongolian Steppe. Saiga and other animals are all at risk from the disease, and this is the first time it has been documented to be killing wild antelopes. Experts from SCA, WWF Mongolia, WCS-Mongolia, and other wildlife organizations are on the scene investigating how the disease is spreading and taking action to stop it, but time is of the essence. It's already being estimated that 25% of the Mongolian saiga population have already been lost and if we don't act now, as much as 80% will perish from the outbreak.
Original January 11, 2017 post below. Excerpt from Saiga Conservation Alliance (SCA) news update
Saiga deaths in Mongolia.
We have received reports of the tragic death of over 500 Mongolian saigas in recent weeks. This disease outbreak is worrying because the Mongolian subspecies numbers only around 12,000 individuals (according to the 2016 population census).
Initial reports suggest that the cause is Peste-des-petits-ruminants, which is a viral disease that has been spreading in the region over the last few years. Further tests are now being carried out by the Mongolian authorities, and we will share their results once they are confirmed. If this diagnosis is confirmed, the saigas are likely to have become infected from livestock. In this case, vaccination of livestock herds in the region should control the further spread of the disease.
This disease is unrelated to the saiga deaths in Kazakhstan in 2015, the cause of which has been identified as Pasteurella multocida. Currently conservationists, including WWF-Mongolia and the Wildlife Conservation Society, are working closely with local government agencies and scientists, including the international team of scientists who have been researching the mass-die off in Kazakhstan, to investigate the outbreak, and to advise on relevant procedures to protect both wild animals and livestock. Emergency disease outbreak protocols have been set in motion, ensuring that standardised procedures were followed for sample collection, diagnosis and response.
Read full story on the SCA blog.