Sunday, June 14, 2009

Try and Save the Saygak the symbol of the steepe

Photo: Saiga Antelope (Female)
The symbol of steppe is the saygak, It is the unique inhabitant of extensive flat spaces of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The saygak is a relic antelope, a representative of fauna of the glacial period, once upon a time roamed the plains with the great mammoths and saber-toothed tigers.

But for the last ten years number of a saygak has been reduced more than to 90 percent. Scientists have sounded the alarm: as it is the fastest reduction of any mammal currently on the planet. Great herds have been exterminated by the poachers killing saygaks for the sake of horns, which are then delivered on the Chinese market (so chinese men can feel potent no doubt!).

Now the saygak has been entered into the Red Book of the International Union of Wildlife Management as a species which is in critical danger. It is at the highest level of threat of extinction. Recently the UNDP GEF program and the State Committee of Nature of the Republic of Karakalpakstan has working on ways of effective preservation of Ustyurt populations of saygak.

The past decades since the end of the Soviet Union have once again proved to be very difficult for these beautiful creatures, the insidious Chinese “medicinal” trade is once again driving the Saiga antelope towards extinction. Just in the last decade alone heard’s in Uzbekistan have reduced by some 90%.

Various Governments (Particularly China, H.K and Taiwan) have to educate their people that they need to focus on other things other than their own material needs and self satisfaction (surely Chinese men can’t be so impotent, that they need to obliterate so many species) and that they are putting themselves and their children in great danger (no biodiversity; no mankind). Further that Uzbekistan and other nations of the steppe must try and control their hunters, who despite heavy sanctions (that sadly can be circumnavigated with “money” ) are still killing so many Saiga.

Male Saiga (Saiga tatarica) - Poster showing a close-up of the saiga's distinctive face.

If this immoral trade is not stopped soon there will be little chance of retaining these wondrous creatures for the generations to come.

Once, for nomadic people of the steepe the saygak was the symbol of steppe, was a source of inspiration. Today all necessary measures should be undertaken to try and get the Russian, Central Asian and most importantly the Chinese government to help stop this stupid and immoral trade, if not then almost certainly, the most ancient and unique antelope on the planet will be completely lost and it will be lost forever.

Write to your local Chinese Ambassador or to the Chinese Minister of Environmental Protection Mr. ZHOU Shengxian at No.115 Xizhimennei Nanxiaojie, Beijing (100035) P.R China calling for action to be taken by the Chinese Government to save the Saygak!