Kiev, Central Asia – Recorded mysterious deaths of more than one-third of the endangered Saiga antelope population in the last few days, Kazakhstan authorities said. The ministry suspects that the animals, recognizable for their distinctive humped snouts have been struck by an epidemic of Pasteurellosis a bacterial infection – discovered by Royal Veterinary College professor, Richard Kock. International veterinarian experts have already flown to Kazakhstan to study the root cause of the catastrophe occurred.
The sudden deaths of 120,000 Saiga antelopes have left scientists across the globe in a state of bewilderment. Latest Saiga count taken in 2014 stood up to 257,000 prior to the mass deaths, taken by the Kazakhstan government. Investigations are being carried in all directions as to find the real culprit behind the scene.
Steffen Zuther of the Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative said,
“Unseasonal wetness may have been something that lowered immunity of Saigas to infection, but until we do more analysis we will not know anything for sure”
UN experts mentioned
“The massive deaths have been caused due to a combination of biological and environmental factors”
On focusing into the situation, the recent rains in the region exacerbated any infections – making 90% of the antelopes living on the steppes of Central Asian Kazakhstan – less immune.
Over a million Saiga antelopes existed, mostly concentrated in the steppe land of Kazakhstan, according to the survey of 1993. Royal Veterinary College professor, Richard Kock believes that the bacteria may not have been the main cause of the sudden deaths.
He added that, Chemical pollution may be one of the fundamental causes, from Central Asia has had “a lot of history” in that area. In addition to these efforts, Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov has launched a task force, enlisting international specialists to gather more facts regarding the death of the animal on the illness.
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