A POACHER KILLED TWO SAIGAS, ARRESTED IN KALMYKIA
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.
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.