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Astana, Kazakhstan • 23 April, 2024 | 11:56

Kazakhstan to Ban Saiga Antelope Hunting

Since October 2023, a total of 42,000 saiga antelope were hunted

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Klaus Nigge/Nature Picture Library
Klaus Nigge/Nature Picture Library

The Ecology Ministry will cease issuing hunting permits for saiga antelope, QazMonitor reports.

What happened: On April 22, the Forestry and Wildlife Committee published a draft decree on the Open Legal Acts to cease culling the population of saiga. The document is open for public discussion until May 8.

Context: The saiga regulation started in October 2023. In 2024, authorities were contemplating allowing trophy hunting for saiga. Throughout the period, a total of 42,000 saiga antelope were hunted.

  • Kazakhstan introduced a ban on saiga hunting in 1999 and set up strict anti-poaching measures to save the endangered animals. The species was classified Critically Endangered in 2001 and reclassified to Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List in 2023.

  • Due to wildlife conservation efforts, the saiga antelope population surged from 21,000 heads in 2003 to over 1,915,000 in 2023.

  • Forecasted data indicated a total of approximately 2.6 million saigas by the end of 2023, including calfs. The Ministry estimates an annual 40% increase, projecting the population to reach 4.2 million by the end of 2025.

  • On April 16 this year, during the meeting with residents of the Kostanay region, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that he would ban the hunting of the saiga population.

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