The Saiga Conservation Alliance in cooperation with the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan (ACBK) launched the Saiga Celebration Day, a major event aimed at community involvement in Saiga Antelope conservation. ACBK staff members and volunteers launched educational and awareness activities in local schools of 7 target villages of the region.
Saiga Day was launched in 2011 as an international initiative joining 5 range countries engaging neighboring communities during the fascinating Saiga Antelope calving period.
“A really positive impact of this event has been making the children realize how important they are and how they can help save the Saiga in their own country”, says project leader Olga Klimanova (ACBK).
During two weeks two ACBK staff members Mirbulat Urynbayev (Local Project Coordinator) and Zhanna Aksartova (Education Specialist) with 5 volunteers from the ACBK Student Club were driving from village to village celebrating the Saiga Day in local schools. During the celebration 6 to 12 year-old children completed 5 activities to become a “Saiga Friend”.
As part of the artistic activities kids were drawing, modeling, reading poems and dancing.
Communities in rural areas of Kazakhstan are deprived of many cultural, social and economic values and opportunities. Especially in remote areas people fully depend on local resources and several generations used to perceive the Saiga Antelope as a species to hunt. Younger generations know very little about the Saiga Antelope and the tragedy that happened in May 2010 when 12,000 animals (one third) of the Ural Population died.
Therefore, Saiga Conservation Alliance in cooperation with ACBK initiated an SOS-funded project aimed at community involvement in Saiga Antelope conservation through informational and educational activities and community-based monitoring.