Robinson, S. J. ; Singh, N.; Zuther, S.

Saiga antelope die-off and calving sites in Kazakhstan

This dataset records the Saiga antelope die-off and calving sites in Kazakhstan. It represents the locations (and where available dates) of (i) die-offs and (ii) normal calving events in the Betpak-dala population of the saiga antelope, in which three major mass mortality events have been recorded since 1988. In total, the data contains 214 saiga die-off and calving sites obtained from field visits, aerial surveys, telemetry and literature.

Locations derived from field data, aerial surveys or telemetry are polygons representing the actual size and shape of the die-off or calving sites; locations sourced from the literature are point data around which buffers of 6km were created, representing the average size of calving aggregations.

Of the 214 locations listed, 135 sites for which environmental data were available were used to model the probability of a die-off event. The collection and use of these data are written up in more detail in papers which are currently under review (when published links will be added to this record).

Saiga antelope are susceptible to mass mortality events, the most severe of which tend to be caused by haemorrhagic septicaemia following infection by the bacteria Pasteurella multocida. These die-off events tend to occur in May during calving, when saigas gather in dense aggregations which can be represented spatially as relatively small sites. The Betpak-dala population is one of three in Kazakhstan, located in the central provinces of the country (see map).

Publication date: 2017-09-12

Get the data

This dataset is made available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

Format of the data: Shapefile

You must cite: Robinson, S. J. ; Singh, N.; Zuther, S. (2017). Saiga antelope die-off and calving sites in Kazakhstan. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.



Study area

Provenance & quality

The 24 die-off sites include only those at which mortality was certain or likely to have been caused by haemorrhagic septicaemia. These locations were recorded from fieldwork in 2015 and from the Soviet literature in 1981 and 1988. All the other sites represent normal calving aggregations at which there was no mass mortality event. Here data come from the Soviet literature (up to and including 2008) and field and telemetry data from the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan from 2008 to 2016.

See more detailed information in the attached documentation


This dataset is included in the following collections

Saiga antelope mortality in Kazakhstan 2015

Supplemental information

Other useful information regarding this dataset:

Saigas on the brink: Multidisciplinary analysis of the factors influencing mass mortality events. Science Advances. 2018. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao2314

Correspondence/contact details

Robinson, S. J.
Oxford University, visiting researcher
La Cousteille


Robinson, S. J.
University of Oxford
Singh, N.
Zuther, S.
Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan

Other contacts

NERC EDS Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre

Additional metadata

Topic categories
Kazakhstan Saiga antelope,  Saiga tatarica
Species Distribution
Spatial representation type
Spatial reference system
WGS 84
Last updated
25 June 2021 18:35