Skip to main content
×
Home

Population estimates of Endangered Mongolian saiga Saiga tatarica mongolica: implications for effective monitoring and population recovery

  • Julie K. Young (a1), Kim M. Murray (a1), Samantha Strindberg (a2), Bayarbaatar Buuveibaatar (a3) and Joel Berger (a1)...
Abstract
Abstract

The global population of saiga Saiga tatarica, categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, declined by > 95% at the end of the 20th century, resulting in several conservation initiatives to protect the species. Previously used methods to monitor population trends were inadequate to assess numbers of saiga properly. We report findings from the first survey for Mongolian saiga S. tatarica mongolica to utilize statistically rigorous methodology, using line transect distance sampling in 2006 and 2007 to obtain population estimates in and around the Sharga Nature Reserve, the southern part of the species' current range. We estimate a density of 0.54 and 0.78 saiga km-2 in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Our best models suggest that 4,938 (95% confidence interval, CI = 2,762–8,828) saiga occupied the 4,524-km2 study area in 2006 and 7,221 (95% CI = 4,380–11,903) occupied the 4,678-km2 study area in 2007. Although these estimates, with their large confidence intervals, preclude an assessment of the impacts of conservation initiatives on population trends, they suggest that the Mongolian saiga population is larger than previous reports based on minimum counts, and adequate to support in situ population recovery. Modifications to the survey protocol hold promise for improving the precision of future estimates. Distance sampling may be a useful, scientifically defensible method for monitoring saiga population trends and assessing the effectiveness of conservation efforts to stabilize and recover populations.

Copyright
Corresponding author
§Wildlife Conservation Society, Northern Rockies Field Office, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, USA. E-mail young@iws.org
References
Hide All
Akaike H. (1973) Information theory and an extension of the maximum likelihood principle. In Second Symposium on Information Theory (eds Petran B.N. & Bsaki C.S.), pp. 267281. Akademia Kiadz, Budapest, Hungary.
Altizer S., Harvell D. & Friedle E. (2003) Rapid evolutionary dynamics and disease threats to biodiversity. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 18, 589596.
Amgalan L., Buuveibaatar B. & Chimeddorj B. (2008) Current distribution and number of the Mongolian saiga (Saiga tatarica mongolica). Journal of Institute of Biology, 27, 46. [in Mongolian]
Bannikov A.G., Zhirnov L.V., Lebedeva L.S. & Fandeev A.A. (1961) Biology of saiga. Selskokchozyajstvennaya Literature Publications, Moscow, Russia. [in Russian]
Bekenov A.B., Grachev I.A. & Milner-Gulland E.J. (1998) The ecology and management of the saiga antelope in Kazakhstan. Mammalian Review, 28, 152.
Berger J. (1990) Persistence of different-sized populations: an empirical assessment of rapid extinctions in bighorn sheep. Conservation Biology, 4, 9198.
Berger J., Young J.K. & Berger K.M. (2008) Protecting migration corridors: challenges and optimism for Mongolian saiga. PLoS Biology, 6, 13651367.
Biswas S. & Sankar K. (2002) Prey abundance and food habit of tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) in Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India. Journal of Zoology, London, 256, 411420.
Buckland S.T., Anderson D.R., Burnham K.P., Laake J.L., Borchers D.L. & Thomas L. (2001) Introduction to Distance Sampling: Estimating Abundance of Biological Populations. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
Byers J.A. (1997) American Pronghorn: Social Adaptations and the Ghosts of Predators Past. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.
Byers J.A. & Moodie J.D. (1990) Sex-specific maternal investment in pronghorn, and question of a limit on differential provisioning in ungulates. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 26, 157164.
Ceballos G. & Ehrlich P.R. (2002) Mammal population losses and the extinction crisis. Science, 296, 904907.
Chimeddorj B., Amgalan L. & Buuveibaatar B. (2009) Current status and distribution of the saiga in Mongolia. Saiga News, 8, 1.
Clark E.L. & Javzansuren M. (2006) Mongolian Red List of Mammals. Zoological Society of London, London, UK.
CMS (Convention of Migratory Species) (2006) Medium Term International Work Programme for the Saiga Antelope (2007–2011). CMS/SA-1/Report Annex 9. Http://www.cms.int/species/saiga/post_session/Annex_09_MediumTerm_Int_WrkProgm_E.pdf [accessed 1 April 2009].
Fadeev V.A. & Sludskii A.A. (1982) The Saiga in Kazakhstan. Academy of Sciences, Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, USSR.
Fisher D.O., Hoyle S.D. & Blomberg S.P. (2000) Population dynamics and survival of an endangered wallaby: a comparison of four methods. Ecological Applications, 10, 901910.
Focardi S., Montanaro P., Isotti R., Ronchi F., Scacco M. & Calmanti R. (2005) Distance sampling effectively monitored a declining population of Italian roe deer Capreolus capreolus italicus. Oryx, 39, 421428.
Gerrodette T. (1993) Trends: software for a power analysis of linear regression. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 21, 515516.
Kholodova M.V., Lushchekina A.A., Neronov V.M., Strelkova M.V., Niyambayar N. & Amgalan L. (2001) Comparative analysis of the Kalmyk and Mongolian Saiga genetic diversity. Doklady Biological sciences, 376, 102104.
Koenen K.G., DeStefano S. & Krausman P.R. (2002) Using distance sampling to estimate seasonal densities of desert mule deer in a semi-desert grassland. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 30, 5363.
Kühl A., Mysterud A., Erdnenov G.I., Lushchekina A.A., Grachev I.A., Bekenov A.B., & Milner-Gulland E.J. (2007) The ‘big spenders’ of the steppe: sex specific maternal allocation and twinning in the saiga antelope. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 274, 12931299.
Lushchekina A.A., Dulamtseren S., Amgalan L. & Neronov V.M. (1999) The status and prospects for conservation of Mongolian saiga, Saiga tatarica mongolica. Oryx, 33, 2130.
Mallon D.P. (2008) Saiga tatarica mongolica. In IUCN Red List of Threatened Species v. 2009.2. Http://www.iucnredlist.org [accessed 20 January 2010].
Milner-Gulland E.J., Kholodova M.V., Bekenov A.B., Bukreeva O.M., Grachev Iu.A., Amgalan L. & Lushchekina A.A. (2001) Dramatic declines in saiga antelope populations. Oryx, 35, 340345.
Norton-Griffiths M. & McConville A.J. (2007) Republic of Kazakhstan. Technical Evaluation of the Aerial Survey Programme for Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica) with recommendations for improvements. FZS Saiga Aerial Census Final Report. Frankfurt, Germany.
Olson K.A., Fuller T.K., Schaller G.B., Odonkhuu D. & Murray M.G. (2005) Estimating the population density of Mongolian gazelles Procapra gutturosa by driving long distance line transects. Oryx, 39, 164169.
Pojar T.M. & Guenzel R.J. (1999) Comparison of fixed-wing line transect and helicopter quadrat pronghorn surveys. Proceedings of the Pronghorn Antelope Workshop, 18, 6468.
Reading R.P., Mix H., Lhagvasuren B. & Blumer E.S. (1999) Status of wild Bactrian camels and other large ungulates in south-western Mongolia. Oryx, 33, 247255.
Reed D.H., O’Grady J.J., Brook B.W., Ballou J.D. & Frankham R. (2003) Estimates of minimum viable population sizes for vertebrates and factors influencing those estimates. Biological Conservation, 113, 2334.
Schaller G.B. (1998) Wildlife of the Tibetan Steppe. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.
Seddon P.J., Ismail K., Shobrak M., Ostrowski S. & Magin C. (2003) A comparison of derived population estimate, mark-resighting and distance sampling methods to determine the population size of a desert ungulate, the Arabian oryx. Oryx, 37, 286294.
Shaffer M.L., Hood L., Snape W.J.I. & Latchis I. (2000) Population viability analysis and conservation policy. In Population Viability Analysis (eds Beissinger S.R. & McCullough D.R.), pp. 123142. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.
Thomas L., Buckland S.T., Rexstad E.A., Laake J.L., Strindberg S., Hedley S.L. et al. . (2010) Distance software: design and analysis of distance sampling surveys for estimating population size. Journal of Applied Ecology, 47, 514.
Whittaker D.G., Van Dyke W.A. & Love S.L. (2003) Evaluation of aerial line transect for estimating pronghorn antelope abundance in low-density populations. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 31, 443453.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 33 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 225 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.