Kazakhstan to extend moratorium on saiga antelope cull

Senior news correspondent

The Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of Kazakhstan has initiated the extension of the saiga cull moratorium in 2023, according to Minister Serikkali Brekeshev.

«Today we have stepped in with the initiative to extend the saiga antelope cull moratorium. If the cabinet supports this idea, the saiga cull will be illegal next year as well,» the minister said.

According to the ministry, over the past decade, the population of saiga increased 60fold thanks to different national programs. Currently, there are 1.3 million saiga specimens in the country.

In June, Brekeshev came up with an idea to launch the saiga cull, citing some scientists who insisted that it was the right time to take action to fight the extensive saiga population. The ministry wanted to cull about 80,000 animals.

However, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev didn’t support the idea and criticized the ministry for its work. The president doubted the necessity of the saiga antelope cull and noted that the ministry should pay more attention to transparency in the geologic industry.

After being criticized by the president, Brekeshev suggested collecting additional data on saiga. It is expected that the research will take one to two years to implement. 

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