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Kazakh Officials Say Infectious Disease Killed Rare Antelope

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

The saiga antelope is considered a critically endangered species.

The saiga antelope is considered a critically endangered species.

Kazakhstan’s Agriculture Ministry announced that the mass death of rare saiga antelope had been caused by an infectious disease called pasteurellosis.

No more details were provided in the ministry’s May 29 press release.

Nearly 1,000 saiga antelope were found dead in the northern Qostanai region following the landing of a Russian space capsule there in April.

Some ecologists in Russia and Kazakhstan have suggested a link between the saiga's mass death and the capsule's landing.

The ministry said last week that the results of tests on the cause of saiga deaths were expected in two weeks.

The saiga is a critically endangered species, with most surviving only in Kazakhstan and Russia’s Kalmykia Republic.

Some estimates say only around 50,000 saiga survive after years of unrestricted hunting since the Soviet collapse.
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