June 18, 2021

Critically endangered Saiga Antelope having most weird face in animal world!

 Saiga Antelope| weird nose of Saiga | Saiga of central Asia | Endangered Saiga Antelope


The flora and fauna in today’s world are facing severe threats due to rapid urbanization and industrialization to fulfill the ever-increasing demand. As a result, we have seen in the past a long list of plants and animals species that have become extinct or are on the verge of extinction but can we say the same for the kingdom of antelopes in the animal world. 

                                     


Saiga antelope in the wild 
    Image Source-  Google | Image by -  Flickr

We have always seen herds of different species of antelopes grazing in the grasslands in Africa or the dense tropical forests of Asia and it seems that they are surviving and thriving in large numbers despite several challenges but there are around 96 species of antelopes in the world most of which are facing the threat of extinction in the future. Of all these one of the weirdest and unusual is the Saiga Antelope.

Characteristics and Behaviour 

Saiga antelope has the most unique nose among all the antelopes which is somewhat like an "Elephant seal". Saiga has a large bulbous nose which helps it to sustain in the harsh climate. In the summers during scorching heat outside in an arid dusty environment, this nose filters down incoming air which helps to regulate temperatures and during extreme winters this nose does not allow the cold air to be inhaled directly. The rest of the body is similar to other antelopes with males having huge horns and colour of the fur is from brown to yellow. However, living in a harsh climate these can travel up to distances of 70 miles. 

These are usually found in herds of around 40-50 individuals which protect them from natural predators. Their body is adapted to harsh summers and extreme winters. 

Habitat and Diet 

Saiga antelope is mostly found in the region of Central Asia such as Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and certain regions of Russia. These are mostly found in the semi-arid and dry regions of grassland where they are grazing most of the day. 

                                  


Saiga mother with calf 
      Image Source-  Google | Image by -  Flickr

These are herbivores eating every vegetation available such as grass, Cyprus, shrubs, and even some plants which are poisonous to other animals. 

Conservation 

Saiga antelope is declared as a critically endangered species by IUCN and if not protected, these will become extinct in near future. The main reason behind the rapid decrease in population is poaching activities. Horns and bones of Saiga are used in certain Chinese medicine which has caused excessive poaching activities in the region. Furthermore, the need for protecting the antelope was not considered a priority before but later it was found that Saiga antelope is an important part of the ecosystem of the region. 


 Saiga Antelope| weird nose of Saiga | Saiga of central Asia | Endangered Saiga Antelope

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