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Species of the month[edit]

Saiga Antelope[edit]

Saiga tatarica

Saiga tatarica

  Some facts on this antelope:

Head and body length: Between 108-146 cm.

Shoulder hight: Between 57-79 cm.

Weight: Males, about 41 kg.; females about 28 kg.

Range States: Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Habitat: Open dry steppe grassland and semi-desert areas.

Surviving number: Estimated at 100,000-110,000.

Lifespan: 6 to 10 years.

Diet: Grasses, steppe lichens, herbs and shrubs.

Conservation status: Critically Endangered (IUCN 3.1).

First described: By the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus in 1766.

If you think your nose is too big, take a look at Saiga tatarica. This antelope's over-sized snout hangs over the mouth and is built to filter dust and warm the frigid air in the winter. The Saiga is a nomad which roamed the steppes for millennia, living in large herds when conditions permitted. The mating season starts in November, when stags fight for the possession of females. The winner leads a herd of five to 50 females. In springtime, the mothers give birth to one or two foals. High birthrate allowed it to bounce back after brutal winters, yet recently poaching for meat and horns intensified, decimating the population by as much as 90%. In particular risk is the Mongolian subspecies Saiga tatarica mongolica with an estimated population of just 750.

See also: Species of previous months