Bayarbaatar Buuveibaatar, known as Buuvei, completed his Undergraduate and Master's degrees at the National University of Mongolia he is currently studying for a second Master’s degree at the Department of Natural Resources Conservation, University of Massachusetts, in the US. Buuvei has studied a variety of Mongolian species, including the Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa), Siberian marmot (Marmota sibirica) and Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica).
The Mongolian saiga has long been isolated from the more numerous populations in Kazakhstan and Russia by the Altai Mountains. They occur at low densities but across a wide area of the western Mongolian Gobi steppe-desert. The population of Mongolian saiga has declined dramatically in recent years, but the most recent estimates suggest that the population has rebounded somewhat and may now number over 5,000 individuals.
Among the many factors that affect population size and fluctuations are reproduction and survival. The recruitment of juveniles is a major factor in the population dynamics of all mammals, yet nothing is known about the role that they play in the dynamics of saiga. Nothing is known about the proportion of females giving birth each year, about the rate of calves’ survival. There is a vital need to obtain essential data on the saiga population to develop and implement adequate protection measures that would ensure that the Mongolian saiga can continue to fully recover in the wild.
During his EDGE Fellowship Buuvei aims to fill this knowledge gap by evaluating the survival and mortality of saiga calves in Mongolia. Specifically, Buuvei will capture saiga calves which will allow him to weigh and measure them. He will then release the calves after having fitted them with a radio-collar. This will enable him to assess the calves survival rate and monitor their movement from a distance to avoid disturbance.
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