Saiga Antelope Facts
- The Saiga Antelope remains the most distinctive looking species of antelope in the world. This animal evolved a proboscis quite similar to that of a walrus. Sadly, it also holds the classification of Critically Endangered, according to the IUCN.
- This magnificent animal also once inhabited an enormous portion of the Eurasian steppe. But that’s been severely reduced. Now, the entirety of its population only inhabits certain portions of the Republic of Kalmykia and Kazakhstan.
- Sadly, mankind hunted this incredible creature almost to the point of extinction in the 1920’s. Fortunately, it managed to recover somewhat. Historically, hunting of the creatures occurred extensively among local populations.
- Currently, the greatest threat to the existence of the Saiga as a species might surprise many people. This consists of a mysterious malady. But, extensive ongoing hunting of the creature for the procurement of its horn also poses a great threat to it.
- That holds true given the fact that this part of the animal is frequently used in traditional Chinese medicines. Nonetheless, like many other species, it must also now be considered to face the dual threats of habitat loss and climate change.
Saiga Antelope Physical Description
The most noticeable feature of the Saiga Antelope is its unique proboscis. This represents an over-sized nose structure which serves two purposes. During migrations in the summer, it serves to filter out dust, and during the winter it heats up the frigid air before it enters the lungs.
The astounding animal displays a slight degree of the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism. In its case, this presents itself with the males being larger in size than the females. The males also develop moderately large, and uniquely colored horns. Females, though, have none.
Males of the Saola reach a height at the shoulder of as much as 2.5 ft (0.8 m). In addition, these can weigh as much as 139 lb (63 kg). The antelope also mostly shows various shades of tan in color, with the exception of the belly and throat. These typically display a white or cream color.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Bovidae
- Genus: Saiga
- Species: S. tatarica