The Saiga is a goat-like antelope with a unique nose that looks like an elephant's trunk. There were once large numbers of Saiga, but their numbers have declined recently. They are now in danger of extinction because there are no longer any countries that protect them.
Body length: 100-170cm
Tail length: 6-12cm
Weight: Male 26-69kg/Female 20-40kg
(Source: Doubutsu Sekai-isan* Red Data Animals Kodansha) (*World Animal Heritage)
The Saiga lives on the steppes in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia.
The Saiga eats grass and low-hanging tree leaves.
The Saiga's large nose is its most distinctive feature. It is shaped like a small elephant's trunk. Scientists think that the Saiga's special nose warms cold air before it is sent to the animal's lungs.
Nationwide conservation efforts pay off!
One country has had more influence than any other in the fate of the Saiga. The saiga was long hunted for its meat, skin, and horns, and was almost extinct at the start of the 20th century. Seeing this, the former Soviet Union, where most Saiga live, started conservation efforts. When the Soviet Union controlled hunting strictly, the Saiga bounced back quickly. In 1958, there were around two million Saiga.
In the hunter's sights once again
However, in 1991 the former Soviet Union collapsed and the Saiga once again became a target for hunters. The Saiga is hunted for its horns, which are believed to act like medicine, and poaching is now a major problem. The increase in farmland and grazing land has begun to take away the Saiga's food and places to live. If conservation efforts are not started again, the Saiga numbers will continue to decrease.
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