The winds howl in chorus across the arid plains of Central and East Asia, unimpeded by forests or mountains. Ground once peppered with the hoof prints of countless saiga antelope has increasingly grown bare as saiga have inched closer to extinction.
Yet, in addition to their tubular noses, saiga are renowned for being survivors, and their latest breeding season brought long absent good fortune to this belabored species. Researchers discovered 530 saiga calves tucked beneath the tall grasses of Kazakhstan’s Ustyurt Plateau, a miraculous number of newborns found in just a single aggregation.
In neighboring Mongolia, the saiga population also bloomed to over 8,450 individuals, up from 3,800 in 2018. This tremendous growth is a sign that the efforts of the Saiga Conservation Alliance (SCA) and other regional conservationists are working.