Two Years Later: Mongolian Antelope Still Struggling

In 2017, the goat plague rattled the already endangered Mongolian subspecies of the saiga antelope. In the wake of the virus, initial numbers were estimated at 7,500 remaining antelopes after the deaths of 2,500 individuals.

You might remember this DSC News Center Article or reading it in a spring 2017 DSC Publication.

But after all the estimates and predictions, what is the situation two years later?

Current numbers estimate about 3,800 Saiga antelope in Mongolia.

After the virus finally died out, the continued decline is attributed to a food shortage from the drought weather conditions that followed the disease outbreak.

The Mongolian steppe’s limited rainfall, hot summers and cold winters create a harsh climate for wildlife, which is why there are only a few species that call it home.

Efforts to support the endangered antelope’s recovery are on-going. Talks of possible relocations are taking shape as many factors continue to work against the natural recovery of the species.  

The Mongolian Saiga Antelope are part of what the World Wildlife Fund has named the “Great Gobi Six,” along with the Wild Bactrian camel, Gobi bear, Takhi or Mongolian wild horse, and Khulan or Mongolian wild donkey. They are a group of endangered animals that represent the overall health of the Gobi ecosystem.

Source: Xinhua, China’s News Agency

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