Death Continue to Stalk the Saigas of the Steppes

An endangered breed of antelopes are dying off at an alarming pace in Asia, more specifically Kazakhstan, and the cause has baffled everyone, even the scientist!

Once numbering in millions and roaming at will the grounds from England to Siberia even to Alaska, the once mighty numbers have dwindled to 250,000 last month. However, the sudden onslaught of a mysterious disease has brought the numbers even done to less than a third of it.

To put matters into perspective, about one-third of the world’s population of saiga antelopes began dying last month. The deaths were so sudden that the cause has stumped scientists up to now and fueled conspiracy theorists’ imaginations.

According to Kazakhstan’s’ ministry of Agriculture, there were 250,000 saiga antelopes a month ago. With that many, the conservation was considered a success. But just a month later, 120,000, a third of that population,started to  die. If the trend continues, none of the animals in the herd will remain alive.

According to Biologist EJ Milner-Gulland, the culprit is more likely a quickly spreading and fatal disease. Word from the U.N. says that Pasteurella and Clostridia, two forms of bacteria, are probably the cause of the mass deaths. However, these bacteria, according to experts, are opportunistic, meaning that they only attack animals with an already weakened immune system.

Another theory by Kazakh environmentalists pins the blame on Russians. According to them, the deaths were caused by rocket fuel contamination raining down from the planes after using these rockets to launch an attack in Kazakhstan .

Saigas are known for their unique look, having distinctively long noses. During mating season, male saigas use their capacious nostrils to send out a sort of roar from it to attract mates.

Image: http://gdb.rferl.org/

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/28/antelope-die-off_n_7463206.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green

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