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Премия рунета 2017


14 december 2018
A poacher entered the territory of the Chyornye Zemli State Nature Reserve on a motorcycle. He killed two saiga bucks and took away their heads with horns, leaving the carcasses behind.

It was impossible to apprehend the perpetrator at the crime scene. However, inspectors of the Chyornye Zemli State Nature Reserve set on chasing him; soon, their colleagues from the Stepnoy Reserve in the Astrakhan Region took on the race too. At the same time, the inspectors reported the poaching to Yashkulsky District Police Department of the Republic of Kalmykia. Joined efforts of the three parties led to capturing and arresting the poacher. The crime is being investigated.

Chyornye Zemli's press office reports that it is the first case of the saiga poaching registered in the Nature Reserve this year.

The saiga antelope is listed in the Red Books of the Republic of Kalmykia and Astrakhan Region. In 1986 there were about 200 thousand saigas living in the area. However, commercially-driven poaching led to rapid population decline, and by 1999 there were less than 55 thousand saigas left. Today, the antelope population is estimated at seven thousand.

Saiga Horns Purchase Ad
(c) Valery Shmunk / WWF-Russia

Besides poaching, the saiga is threatened by many other challenges, including climate change and habitat degradation. Acknowledging these problems and urgent need for their resolution for the sake of survival of this unique Red Book antelope, the World Wildlife Fund expanded its Program for Nature Conservation to include the saiga this July. Currently, WWF-Russia helps Protected Areas with the saiga preservation.

Saiga in the Chyornye Zemli Nature Reserve
(c) Rostislav Mashin / WWF-Russia
"We hope the poacher will get the punishment he deserves. We must not forget that the saiga is an important Red Book species threatened with extinction and it desperately needs protection. It's even more weird to see the saiga poaching in Kalmykia. The capital of this Republic has several statues of Tsagan Aav, The White Old Man, the guardian deity of Kalmykia. He is considered the guardian of Kalmyks, all life on the Earth, family, fertility, and prosperity, and he is always depicted with a saiga by his side," — Valery Shmunk, Director of the Russian Caucasus Regional Office of WWF-Russia says.
Tsagan Aav in Front of the Golden Temple of Sakyamuni Buddha in Elista
(c) Mikhail Klimenko / WWF-Russia
Photo in headline: (c) Rostislav Mashin / WWF-Russia
For additional information please contact
Head of Caucasus Ecoregional Office