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The Saiga Antelope has been a critically endangered species since 2018. But the antelope species is making a comeback.

Kazakhstan is home to a majority of the world's Saiga. The population of the Saiga antelope has more than doubled in Kazakhstan since 2019. It rose from 3,34,000 to 8,42,000 since the last aerial survey.

This gives conservationists fresh hope for the animal's long-term survival as it suggests a continuing rebound after a massive die-off in 2015.

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Around 2,00,000 antelopes were wiped out by what scientists later determined was a nasal bacterium that spread in unusually warm and humid conditions in 2015. This was well over half the total global population of Saiga at the time.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature deems the Saiga to be among five critically endangered antelope species. The Saiga is known for its distinctive bulbous nose.

The threat of poaching is fuelled by the demand for the Saiga's horn in traditional Chinese medicine. Kazakhstan's leaders have pledged to intensify their crackdown on poaching.

Climate change and the expansion of human activity through farming and infrastructure projects are other threats to the Saiga.

Earlier this month the ecological ministry estimated that around 350 female saiga antelopes had been killed by lightning amid storms in the west of the country.

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