The endangered Saiga antelope, found on the steppes of Eurasia, are facing what some scientists believe to be a mass extinction without any explanation. In May, during the span of just four days, over 60,000 Saiga antelopes suddenly, and mysteriously, just dropped down dead in the central region of Kazakhstan. As of now, scientists have estimated that over half of the remaining world population of these antelope, 120,000, have also mysterious died since those four stunning days in May.
According to The International Business Times, the Saiga have historically been subject such mass and unexplained near extinctions. Many veterinarians and scientists have just never seen a 100% death rate among a herd of such large animals. The Saiga antelope once roamed the steppes and plains of Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan in the many millions but, again, seemed subject to historical near extinctions.
Scientists are at a near loss for this current event. They are witnessing the antelope herd simply dying off for no logical or observable reason and the deaths have taken the antelope with no distinction to age or injuries. Even the youngest calves are meeting unexplained deaths.
Scientists have begun to look for, and detect, certain clues to the herd devastation. Scientists have been noticing that the female Saiga’s, as well as their young are the ones, have been dying off at a most alarming rate. The females tend to group together and support one another during births and for protection. Scientists have taken tissue samples from many of the dead animals and have discovered certain poisons present. They have identified certain toxins in the antelope tissue that may be caused by, perhaps, Clostridia and Pasteurella.
They believe the antelope’s immune systems may be compromised. They feel that the severe weather conditions in the antelope’s environments has cause the weakened immune systems even though they have been dying off in herds that are nowhere in the vicinity of any other herd.