An outbreak of disease has killed 727 Saiga antelope and three black-tailed deer in Govi-Altai Province, according to officials.
A working group established last week is continuing to take measures to control the spread of the disease in Tonkhil and Darvi soums of Govi-Altai Province, believed to the outbreak’s epicenter.
In every soum hit by the outbreak, the working group is burying disinfected carcasses in holes that are three-meters deep, and warning families living in Chandmani and Darvi soums of the disease outbreak, as recommended by the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism.
Saiga antelope is a critically endangered species that inhabits land in six soums of Govi-Altai and Khovd provinces. The species was in danger of extinction due to illegal trafficking and adverse weather conditions, but various protection measures carried out by the Mongolian program team of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) helped increase the population to 13,800 by 2015, according to B.Chimmeddorj, manager of the Mongolian program team.
Head of Govi-Altai Province’s Emergency Management Department Sh.Gan-Erdene noted that this is the first known mass death of Saiga antelope that has occurred in Mongolia, and explained that it is most likely linked to cases of cattle plague recorded last August in Bulgan soum, Khovd Province.
Over 400 Saiga antelope dead from disease
/January 9, 2017/ More than 400 Saiga antelope have succumbed to disease in Govi-Altai Province, according to local media.
Govi-Altai Province’s Department of Specialized Inspection and Emergency Agency formed a working group to search the area for sick antelope and any carcasses. Experts suspect the disease may be a form of cattle plague. Reportedly, the working group is taking measures in Tonkhil and Darvi soums of Govi-Altai Province, believed to be the outbreak’s epicenter, to prevent further spread of the disease.
Extermination and disinfection operations are said to be ongoing in Khaliun, Sharga, Khukh-Morit, and Bayan-Uul soums.
Kh.Tumur-Ochir, a spokesperson for the Govi-Altai Province Emergency Agency, said that the outbreak of the disease occurred just before New Year’s Eve. He said that a few Saiga antelope and wild goats were found dead in a river in Naran baga of Yusunbulag soum, Govi-Altai Province.