SAVE THE SAIGA ANTELOPES

By: Surabhi Das

Saiga Antelopes that once used to be found in numbers of over a million are now critically endangered with a population of only 50,000

Saiga Antelope going extinct

Life History

  • sexually mature at 7 months
  • 1 or 2 offspring (twinning rates common)
  • 8 - 10 year life span

Habitat

The Saiga Antelope are found in the open dry steppe & semi-desert grasslands of Central Asia & The Pre Caspian region

Diet

Diet mainly consists of

  • grass
  • steppe lichens
  • herbs
  • bushes

Major threats

Density independed factor

A density-independent factor is any factor limiting the size of a population whose effect is not dependent on the number of individuals in the population. In the month of May 2015, a unexplained epidemic wiped out almost half of the Saiga population. Similar die offs have occurred in 1980's and in 2010.

Density dependent factors

A Density dependent factors is any factor limiting the size of a population whose effect is dependent on the number of individuals in the population.When the USSR economic downfall occurred, the Saiga populations was fairly flourishing. People saw this population as a way to make profits in a difficult time. Saiga parts were highly in demand at different parts of the world and this caused supply (the population) to go down drastically over the years.

Carrying Capacity

Saiga antelopes have a carrying capacity of 2 MILLION!! With only a population of 50 000 now, the antelopes are CRITICALLY endangered.
Safeguarding the Saiga Antelope - Uzbekistan

Defense mechanisms

Saiga antelopes have horns to fend off predators, but male Saigas also use their horns to compete for females. This is an example of INTRASPECIFIC competition. Saigas are fast runners and their speed can reach upto 80 km per hour. Another advantage that Saigas have is that they can swim while their predators may not be able too.

Survivorship Curve

The Saiga antelope falls under the type 1 survivorship curve. Saigas have a high rate of juvenile survival and most individuals live beyond sexual maturity. Saigas have low fecundity with only 1 or two babies born at a time but parental care is high.

Convervation

Saigas are listed on apendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meaning that trades in this species are monitored closely. Hunting is banned throughout the region where Saigas are still present. Many non profit organizations are working towards making anti- poaching laws stronger. Check out the websites below if you would like to help save the Saigas.
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References

Saiga Antelope. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2016, from http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/saiga_antelope/


Support the Saigas. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2016, from http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/19832/0


Saiga antelope videos, photos and facts. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2016, from http://www.arkive.org/saiga-antelope/saiga-tatarica/


Google images - Google Search. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2016, from https://www.google.ca/search?q=google images