Nature has its way not only when it comes to wonders but especially when it comes to the calamities that reveal disastrous impacts. Now the environment is alarming us with a mysterious wave of antelope deaths in Kazakhstan, with more than 120.000 critically endangered species found dead in Kazakhstan since May. This represents more than a third of the worldwide population.
The cause of the calamity is yet uncertain, but scientists believe the main reasons are related to two types of normally benign bacteria found in the antelopes’ gut. Seemingly, the animals die in just a couple of hours after showing symptoms that include depression, diarrhea and frothing at the mouth.
Our environment is getting sicker by the minute, showing effects of degradation as years go by, with horrifying consequences on animal habitats and green areas. This case of mysterious deaths is set to be an alarm call for all of us who must become aware of the importance of nature and ecosystems and treat everything nature related with all the respect it deserves, otherwise important species of animals and habitats are prone to disappearing, leaving behind much degraded areas.
Researchers declared that there are two kinds of bacteria that exacerbated the die-off, seemingly not lethal unless the animal already has a weakened immune system. However, experts still try to identify the root causes.
The tragedy descends upon entire herds of female antelopes and new born calves, as the calving season is now in bloom. Symptoms include respiratory problems, with animals unable to breath, on the edge of choking. The secondary effect of virus infection is lack in appetite and then depression. Mothers die and calves become extremely distressed, dying just a couple of days later.
This is hardly the first threat on antelope populations in Kazakhstan, with Saiga species getting nearly extinct after the fall of the Soviet Union, when rampant poaching for meat and antelopes’ unique horns used in traditional medicine, caused extreme decrease in population, with 1 million antelopes going down on 81.000. This was a case of intensified legal protection and intense conservation efforts, which have caused a major boost in the population over the past few years. Poaching still remains a major problem still and with this alarming virus that kills large amounts of animals, antelopes face serious extinction dangers.
The total number of Saiga antelopes is estimated at 260.000 for the time being, with 200.000 living in Kazakhstan only.
Image Source: tol.org