|Wildlife and Cultures of the Southern Russian Steppe|
Support to the Saiga Conservation Alliance
The CIC generously supported the Saiga Conservation Alliance with a grant of 8000 euros in August 2009. This funding was spent on travel for saiga experts to the Congress of the International Union of Game Biologists, Moscow; on the SCA’s 2009 Small Grants Competition and on part-sponsorship of the winter 2009/10 edition of the SCA’s newsletter Saiga News.
The Saiga Conservation Alliance is a network of conservationists working together towards the following mission: We are committed to restoring the saiga antelope to its position as the flagship species of the Central Asian and pre-Caspian steppes, reflecting the species’ cultural and economic value to local people and its fundamental role in the steppe ecosystem. We work collaboratively, and freely share our expertise and enthusiasm for saigas. We disseminate our work widely - to those working for saiga conservation, the public throughout the world, governments and the wider conservation community.
CIC has been a supporter of the SCA since its inception in 2006, and was our first Institutional Partner. CIC has pledged to work with other partners and stakeholders to further the mission and goals of the SCA.
Travel to IUGB
The International Union of Game Biologists congress in Moscow in August 2009 was particularly important for saigas because the special theme of the Congress was “international cooperation for the conservation of the saiga”. CIC’s support allowed the key experts from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Russia to attend the Congress and present their work. This also enabled the SCA Steering Committee to meet and carry out some urgent business, including reforming our constitution as a first step towards gaining charitable status.
Small Grants Programme
The SCA has run an annual small grants competition since 2007. This aims to build grassroots capacity for saiga conservation by supporting small self-contained projects within the saiga range states, undertaken by those without access to large-scale international funding, and demonstrably contributing to fulfilment of the Medium Term Work Programme of the MOU on saiga conservation under the UN Conservation on Migratory Species. CIC’s support represented 50% co-funding, with the rest coming from WCN, and enabled us to support four projects. These projects well represent the range of activities and geographical locations of the SCA’s members’ work:
- Anatoly Khludnev, Steppnoi Reserve, Russia - for continuation of his highly effective anti-poaching and public engagement activities;
- Vera Voronova, Karaganda Ecomuseum, Kazakhstan - for public engagement and saiga information displays in the local museum within a key part of the saiga's range;
- Artur Nuridjanov, State Hunting Inspectorate, Uzbekistan - for monitoring and conservation of a small resident saiga population just discovered on an island (now peninsula) of the Aral Sea, which until last year was closed as a military research facility and is now under extreme pressure from poaching and habitat destruction by oil workers;
- Guihong Zhang, WCS China - for a trade survey and awareness campaign focused on saiga horn use in Guangzhou city, a key centre for the saiga horn trade in China.
Saiga News is a six-monthly bulletin that aims to bridge the gap between local people working for saigas on the ground and international NGOs and policy-makers. It is published online and distributed in the range states in hard copy, in the six main languages of the saiga range states: English, Russian, Chinese, Kazakh, Mongolian, Uzbek.
CIC’s support will provide part-funding for Issue 10 of Saiga News, to appear in winter 2009/10. Other funding will be from the Rufford Foundation, WCN, WWF-Mongolia and WCS-China.
Saiga News has developed into a dynamic and lively newsletter, which includes news updates from projects and from the media in the range states, abstracts of recent saiga publications, as well as articles and forums on recent conservation and research activities. Anyone is free to submit an article, and the bulletin receives information from a wide range of organisations and individuals.
Saiga News has a strong capacity-building remit as well as a communications role. It provides a venue for people to disseminate their work internationally, who would not otherwise be able to reach this audience. It supports young and inexperienced authors through the editorial process.
Saiga News can be found at www.saiga-conservation.com/saiga_news.html.
The Saiga Conservation Alliance is very grateful to CIC for your ongoing support. If you have any questions or would like further information, please consult the website of the Saiga Conservation Alliance or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr E.J. Milner-Gulland
Chair of the Saiga Conservation Alliance