EDGE Fellow Buuvei is investigating how much predation from dogs threatens Mongolian saiga antelopes. Here he tells us about efforts to combat one of the other factors threatening this incredible species – poaching.
Poaching is one of the primary drivers of the population decline of Mongolian saiga that numbering few thousands. On 07 April, 2009 WWF funded Mobile Anti-Poaching Unit (MAPU) in collaboration with local police officers detained two Mongolian citizens who killed 7 saigas in Shargyn Gobi, Gobi-Altay, Mongolia. The case initially informed by local people to saiga ranger on 22 January, 2009. All saiga were adult males. Poachers chased them with a motorcycle and shot. Horns were cut by saw.
After 3 months of tireless effort of investigation, finally they arrested the poachers. The poachers expected to be fined with USD 28,000 (USD 4,000 for each) or imprisonment. Besides this, the MAPU has revealed three cases of poaching 15 saiga since October, 2007.
Selective hunting targeted on horned male has a serious negative impact on populations’ breeding system and its ability to recover. Because saiga horns are essential component of Chinese traditional medicine, people frequently attempt to smuggle saiga horn to China. The largest attempt was halted by customer officers in 2006 and they seized 108 horns of Mongolian saiga. In addition, custom officers at international railroad between China and Mongolia have been confiscated two cases of total 570 horns since 2006, which did not belong to saiga antelopes of the Mongolian subspecies.