Saiga Antelope

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Recently, the Saiga (Saiga tatarica) species category was changed from Critically Endangered to Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

About Saiga Antelope

  • It is a large migratory herbivore.
  • Appearance:
    • This antelope has an extremely unusual appearance with an over-sized and flexible nose, the internal structure of which acts like a filter.
    • Their large noses filter out dust kicked up by the herd in the warm summers and warms the icy air before it reaches their lungs in the winters.
  • Habitat: It inhabits open dry steppe grasslands and semi-arid deserts.
  • Distribution:
    • The antelope were once found throughout the Eurasian Steppe, the great band of grassland that stretches from Hungary in Europe to Manchuria in Asia.
    • Presently it is found in fragmented populations within Kazakhstan, Mongolia, the Russian Federation and Uzbekistan.
  • The Saiga has two sub-species: Saiga tatarica tatarica (found in most of the range) and Saiga tatarica mongolica (found only in Mongolia).
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Near threatened
    • CITES :Appendix II
  • Threats: Hunting and habitat destruction.

Q1) What is steppe Biome?

It refers to a large flatland with grasses or shrubs but without any trees. This flatland is usually found in areas with a climate that is not wet enough to support the growth of a forest although not dry enough to be classified as a desert. Any trees located in these regions are located close to water bodies such as lakes and rivers. In some parts of the world, a steppe is known by a different name. For example, a steppe is known as a veld in South Africa while the North American prairie is technically a steppe.

Source: Miracle on the Steppe: The Saiga has beaten extinction for now, finds new IUCN Red List