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Saigas on the brink: multidisciplinary analysis of the factors influencing mass mortality events
Kock, R.A.; Orynbayev, M.; Robinson, S.; Zuther, S.; Singh, N.J.; Beauvais, W.; Morgan, E.R.; Kerimbayev, A.; Khomenko, S.; Martineau, H.M.; Rystaeva, R.; Omarova, Z.; Wolfs, S.; Hawotte, F.; Radoux, J.; Milner-Gulland, E.J. (2018). Saigas on the brink: multidisciplinary analysis of the factors influencing mass mortality events. Science Advances 4(1): eaao2314. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1126/sciadv.aao2314
In: Science Advances. AAAS: New York. ISSN 2375-2548, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keyword
    Terrestrial

Authors  Top 
  • Kock, R.A.
  • Orynbayev, M.
  • Robinson, S.
  • Zuther, S.
  • Singh, N.J.
  • Beauvais, W.
  • Morgan, E.R.
  • Kerimbayev, A.
  • Khomenko, S.
  • Martineau, H.M.
  • Rystaeva, R.
  • Omarova, Z.
  • Wolfs, S.
  • Hawotte, F.
  • Radoux, J., more
  • Milner-Gulland, E.J.

Abstract
    In 2015, more than 200,000 saiga antelopes died in 3 weeks in central Kazakhstan. The proximate cause of death is confirmed as hemorrhagic septicemia caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida type B, based on multiple strands of evidence. Statistical modeling suggests that there was unusually high relative humidity and temperature in the days leading up to the mortality event; temperature and humidity anomalies were also observed in two previous similar events in the same region. Themodeled influence of environmental covariates is consistent with known drivers of hemorrhagic septicemia. Given the saiga population’s vulnerability to mass mortality and the likely exacerbation of climate-related and environmental stressors in the future, management of risks to population viability such as poaching and viral livestock disease is urgently needed, as well as robust ongoing veterinary surveillance. A multidisciplinary approach is needed to research mass mortality events under rapid environmental change.

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