New CMS Sustainable Use Plan for Saiga Antelope

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Kazakhstan, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, and Uzbekistan have agreed on new joint measures to conserve and sustainably use the Saiga antelope under the United Nations’ Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).

The new CMS Work Programme will implement a framework for the conservation and sustainable use of Saiga antelope in the four range states over the next five years.

Key to these new measures is the use of different conservation plans based on the status of the species in each of the induvial countries.

For example, it is stated that Kazakhstan has a high population of the species, therefore meaning that sustainable harvest would be possible. Countries with lower populations, on the other hand, would not be able implement sustainable use, thereby ensuring the long-term health of the species.

The Meeting in which the Work Programme was approved also endorsed a CMS report on the sustainable use of Saiga antelope, with the report exploring the viability and pre-conditions needed for sustainable use to take place.

Regarding the benefits associated with sustainable use, the report states that funds would be used to finance future conservation efforts, namely anti-poaching, as well as to benefit local communities.

The CIC congratulates CMS and the range states involved for implementing this new conservation and sustainable use plan that takes the variable status of Saiga antelope populations into account. While the sustainable use of natural resources is an excellent wildlife management tool with a host of benefits, it is vital that such schemes are only utilised in places they can be viably introduced.