Saiga antelope are one of the most ancient mammals on earth. Unique, goat size animals being the only species in the genus Saiga. They can be found in Southern Russia and Central Asia. Their bizarre massive noses are flexible and look like a shortened elephant trunk and is used as an instrument that allows the animals to breath more efficiently by acting as an air cleaning tool before air is inhaled into the lungs. When traveling in great migrating herds their thundering hooves can turn the steppe grasslands and semi-arid desert habitat into a dust storm and this is when the nose acts as a dust filter.

Like many other creatures on this planet nowadays, they face an uncertain future due to hunting and loss of habitat. Organized gangs of poachers have decimated the population in recent years by massive export of their horns used in traditional Asian medicine and meat industry. Current numbers in the wild have dropped from over 1,000,000 in the early 1990s to fewer than 50,000 today.

Today, Saiga are declared as critically endangered. Because of severe illegal hunting in most of the region where they occur these animals avoid humans in all aspects. If they see a human, they run away fast and long.
Nevertheless, despite all the previous negative figures and facts, we can provide an exclusive opportunity for international wildlife enthusiasts and photographers to monitor, observe and photograph these shy and elusive ungulates from close range deep inside the Stepnoi Nature Sanctuary, Russia.

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