PhD Student, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Research: Movements and survival of saiga antelope in western Mongolia
Species/Topic: Saiga Antelopes
Abstract: The Mongolian saiga (Saiga tatarica mongolica), an endemic sub-species in Mongolia, occurs at low densities but across a wide area of the western Mongolian Gobi steppe-desert. The population has declined dramatically in recent years, and may now number 5,000 individuals. Understanding survival is vital to managing wildlife populations, but no such information for saiga exists. Among the many intrinsic factors that affect population viability are resource distribution and sub-population connectivity. We do not know resource selection behavior of saiga antelope in Mongolia, or movements of individual saiga within and among populations, in general. Thus there is a critical need to document the survival and spatial ecology of this endangered species to develop and implement adequate protection measures and ensure that saiga can be sustained.