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World Wildlife Fund Russia has published the results of saiga antelopes aerial counting, that was accomplished with ZALA UAS in Astrakhan region and Kalmykia, Russia.

There are over 5 000 saiga antelopes in the protected natural areas, that is somewhat lower than was estimated by experts during last few years.

From 19th till 26 th of June specialists surveyed the main inhabitation area of the animal with ZALA UAV 421-16E.

The results showed that the estimated quantity of the saiga antelopes is 5150 animals, including 573 (11%) male and 2049 (41%) small saiga, which were born this year.

“Traditional methods for animal counting from a vehicle were far less accurate. Aerial counting from light manned airplanes really scares the animal, that not only complicates the counting, but may cause harm to the animal at its specific life stage. We are really happy that ZALA UAS allow us to receive the precise information without any negative effect on the animals,” – says Dmitri Dobrynin, the project manager.

The results of completed researches will help scientists to monitor the quantity and age/gender composition of saiga at Caspian Sea region and also develop measures to protect the animal.

“On the next stage we are planning to use UAVs with thermal imaging cameras”, - said Valery Shmynk, director of “Russian Caucases” department of WWF Russia.

Report with all detailed data was sent to Ministry of Natural Resourses of The Russian Federation, Stepnoi and Chornye Zemli national parks.

For your reference:
In the middle of last century saiga population at North-West Caspian Sea region was about 800 000 animals.The population have crashed down to 200 000 animals due to illegal hunting. Over the last decade it decreased down to 4 000 animals. This is the most terrifying animal loss in the world nowadays.

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