Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica tatarica) mortality in Kazakhstan 2015: emergency investigation of disease outbreak to improve knowledge of drivers

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Veterinary College
Department Name: Pathology and Pathogen Biology

Abstract

Catastrophic disease events can be devastating for the survival of threatened species, and can reverse years of conservation effort. When populations are already small and vulnerable, due to poaching or habitat loss, disease can be the final straw. Examples of disease as a conservation issue include the Ethiopian wolf, which is susceptible to distemper and rabies from domestic dogs, and rinderpest, which decimated the wild and domestic ungulate populations of Africa in the 19th century. Recently it has been recognised that disease is best understood and tackled in a wider context than just the individual species of host and pathogen; resilient ecosystems are better able to accommodate disease outbreaks, and human-caused environmental change can make species more vulnerable.

The saiga antelope is a migratory ungulate which gathers to give birth in large aggregations. It is critically endangered due to a >95% decline in population size over <10 years due to poaching for its horns and meat. However one population (Betpak-dala) has recovered well, to about 250,000 individuals in April 2015. Mass die-offs from disease occur regularly in this species, but the causes and contributing factors have never been properly investigated. In May 2015, 120,000 saigas died within a few days in the Betpak-dala population, about half this population, and >1/3 of the global population. For the first time, a rapid response team was able to attend and collect samples from the affected saigas and their environment. Initial observations suggest that the deaths were a result of a complex interaction between particular environmental conditions (wet weather, lush grass) and the weakness of females which had just given birth, causing pathogens which were present but latent within the saigas to take hold. This is not the whole story, however, which may also include toxins in plants or water, an insect-carried disease, or a directly-transmitted virus.

In this project, we will analyse the already-collected samples to diagnose the causes of and contributing factors to this mass die-off. We will run an urgent mission to the field, to collect supplementary information which will help us to home in on the triggers for this disease. We will visit both affected and unaffected areas, to understand what the differences are. We will talk to local herders, and get weather records for the days leading up to the deaths. Next, we will compile everything we know about this outbreak, and about previous outbreaks (recent and historical, in saigas and similar species), to get an overall picture of the pattern of events and environmental conditions which leads to mass saiga deaths. Combining this understanding with projections of future environmental conditions (e.g. climate change) and emerging infectious diseases (e.g. peste des petits ruminants, which is entering Central Asia from Africa), we will explore scenarios of risk from a range of diseases to both saigas and livestock, and how risks could be mitigated (e.g. through vaccination or changes in land use practices).

Having assembled this evidence, we will help the Government of Kazakhstan to prepare for future disease outbreaks; we will design surveillance protocols so they can have early warning of potential triggers for mortality, and help them to examine whether, and which, interventions might reduce the risk of outbreaks, or mitigate them. We will run a technical workshop at the upcoming meeting of the UN Convention on Migratory Species' Memorandum of Understanding on saiga conservation, and support signatories (governments and NGOs) to develop and ratify an action plan.

This project is a unique chance to investigate a dramatic and complex disease event of huge conservation importance, which will also shed light on the relationship between environmental change and disease. This makes it of wide general interest for ecologists, and an opportunity which it is vital to take while there is still time to act.

Planned Impact

The results of this project will be of major global interest, evidenced by the huge amount of press coverage worldwide, e.g. the New York Times, the Australian Broadasting Corporation, Liberation (France), Scientific American, New Scientist, Nature, Guardian, Independent, BBC (several branches). Team members R. Kock (RVC), S. Zuther (ACBK), E.J. Milner-Gulland (Imperial) and A. Kuhl-Stenzel (CMS) have been interviewed extensively. The coverage highlights the mystery surrounding the cause of death. As this project is specifically aimed at clarifying this, there is significant potential for substantial impact.

Range state governments, particularly Kazakhstan, require guidance and support to plan effective disease surveillance and control, and to conserve this species given its proneness to mass mortality events. The Kazakhstan government has set up a Commission to investigate the saiga deaths and make recommendations, with RVC as a member and RIBSP as coordinator; this will be a key avenue for engagement. Specific relevant branches of government are: the Ministry of Agriculture, National Reference Veterinary Centre, State Veterinary Laboratories, Forestry and Hunting Committee (wildlife management authority), Analytic Control Department of Ecology, Kazakhstan Environment Ministry. Other range state governments will also benefit from understanding the potential for disease and the appropriate response.

The general public internationally, and particularly in Kazakhstan, will benefit from information on the causes and response to this outbreak, and about future planning to mitigate future outbreaks. The project's scientific approach will reassure the public about the transparency of the assessment. Frequent references in the media to possible transnational influences, rocket testing and historic toxicologies is liable to raise tensions and political heat without a sound open research programme. The independence of UK engagement will provide a strong signal to Kazakhstan's political and civil society that the Ministry is acting in a responsible and transparent manner in its investigation.

Scientific institutions: Currently there is a lack of capacity for wildlife disease monitoring and diagnosis in Kazakhstan. The project will benefit partners RIBSP by tying them into international support. It will also provide the UK's Pirbright Institute an opportunity to use new technologies in their refurbished laboratories, including next generation sequencing to screen for possible immunosuppressive viral pathogens.

International organisations: Project partner CMS, which coordinates the MOU on saiga conservation, will draw lessons from this research for other species in its portfolio. IUCN - the World Conservation Union's Species Survival Commission will benefit from improved understanding of the conservation implications of disease in threatened species. The project will benefit FAO's newly establishing Astana office, supporting their role in the country and improving understanding of the threats to saigas in the context of emerging agricultural development policy on the steppe.

NGOs: Project partner ACBK is the main conservation organisation in Kazakhstan, and works closely with government on saiga conservation. It will benefit from a better understanding of the issues surrounding saiga disease and how to prepare for and respond to future outbreaks. Internationally, the Saiga Conservation Alliance (chaired by co-I EJMG) and project partner FFI will benefit from better understanding of saiga disease, supporting engagement with donors and the general public to build a basis for future conservation action. Other beneficiary NGOs working on saigas include Frankfurt Zoological Society, Birdlife, Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF.

The research will provide full results in the short time frame of a year, but we hope to provide an initial diagnosis and report by the time of the CMS's technical meeting in early September.
 
Description The emergency grant enabled on ground and laboratory and other studies to better understand the event, its impact and the causes.

The field mission in June 2015 after the mass mortality event (MME) in May clarified the extent and impact showing some surviving animals in the central core population of saiga and this was confirmed subsequently to be about 30,000 animals out of a total of 250,000 estimate. It is not clear if these came from affected aggregations or unaffected groups in 2015 but it was known that many male groups were much further north than the animals during the event and apparently were unaffected. No obvious extension of this MME to livestock or any other species was identified during post MME investigations.

The further pathological investigation undertaken with this grant from samples collected during the MME has reduced the differential diagnosis to one significant aetiology for the mass mortality event (MME) in 2015. The pathology confirms haemorrhagic septicaemia (HS) as the disease caused by opportunistic infection of saiga antelope at a population scale. The causative organism is Pasteurella multocida serotype B genotypically identical across outbreaks in 2015 and highly virulent. It is similar to other isolates of HS in domestic animals and saiga from earlier pathologies in the Eurasia. No other pathogens or toxicologies of significance and no viral co-infections have been identified using new generation sequencing on blood.

The epidemiology and laboratory results together strongly suggest that this was not a primary infectious disease outbreak but rather invasion by commensal bacteria (which the majority of saiga were presumably carrying), associated with an environmental trigger. The mechanism of infection could be either bacteriological, through a change in invasiveness or virulence and a cascade effect, or related to loss of host immunity at the mucosal surface, causing adult saiga to develop rapid fatal septicaemia. This was a near universal effect across a landscape and discrete aggregations at calving. FISH studies recently reported in the synthesis paper point to gut mucosal entry which is surprising given that bile salts are toxic to P. multocida and this tends to support the cascade proliferation hypothesis triggered by host environment interactions. Horizontal transmission most probably also occurred, to some extent, following initial cases, but the rapid and near-synchronous onset points to a common environmental trigger rather than spread from pathogen introduction, although prior environmental conditions may have also contributed to higher prevalence of these bacterial parasites in the population. Calves died after the mothers, suggesting that there was not a lot of horizontal infection occurring as they would be highly vulnerable to this and die more rapidly, rather they acquired the infection through milk at the time of the die off.

These findings have focussed analytic efforts on environmental covariates that may have triggered this remarkable event; exploring these triggers statistically is the next stage of the work for this project (supported by the matched co-funding raised during the project). Current analysis of available data and controls over the ten days leading up to estimated onset of die off in 2015, suggests an association with weather factors (the most significant being indicators of atmospheric moisture such as dewpoint temperature and relative humidity; Annex 3.8). This would be in line with understanding from the literature about the environmental associations with clinical signs of Pasteurella multocida septicaemia, which include high humidity. Further analysis of these data provided findings of statistical significance and per the publication in Science Advances.

Other factors such as snow and NDVI (plant growth) anomalies, higher low mean temperature range are also significantly associated and further statistical work was possible on the higher low mean temperature which was also statistically significantly correlated as per above. Other related studies include plant surveys which show considerable variation across the MME range and it is unlikely any plant community is relevant but the NDVI anomaly and association of sward length or abundance with humidity might be of interest.

Evidence review suggests that at least one other historic outbreak, that of 1988 in Kazakhstan can be ascribed to be of a similar nature, with some other outbreaks showing some similarities in 1984, 2010.

To further an understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of the HS and infection with P. multocida, sampling was undertaken under the project in 2016 on the surviving breeding aggregation in Betpak Dala and in the Ural population. From this PCR evidence for commensal bacteria of this type were found in 2 individual healthy calves, where the bacteria would not be expected, suggesting transfer of bacteria from the mother in the first days of life of a non-pathogenic character. Understanding of the prevalence of P multocida in the adult population is important to better explain the epidemiology of the MME as horizontal transmission cannot explain the rate and extent of infection observed. Any horizontal transmission is likely to take place between adult females at calving nest sites (aggregations within the aggregations for the period of calf delivery) shown by measuring the distances between nests at these sites showing a high density of animals. The other mechanism of transmission if from mother to calf most probably through the milk as evidence gathered suggests. The only supporting evidence which has arisen for the latency is isolation of the bacteria in Mongolian saiga during a PPR virus outbreak in Altai Gobi apparently uninvolved in the disease but present in tissues from outbreak cases. Further work is ongoing on tonsillar samples taken from this outbreak and now in the UK for further study. Microbiological studies including genomics on the pasteurella organisms isolated have now been completed including, detailed phylogeny of the outbreak pathogen and comparisons to earlier isolates of pasteurella and full next generation sequencing of samples to exclude pathogen cofactors and confirm the primary cause.

Livestock investigations in 2016 showed no clear association between any species and saiga during the MMEs nor in terms of disease patterns. A better understanding of the interface in this geographic region where disease is clustering was achieved and relevant to future livestock management with respect to disease risk and saiga.

There is also association between die-off events and calving, both temporally and in terms of geography. Review of ungulate die-offs in temperate systems with Pasteurella spp., reveals that they are frequently reported in conjunction with some adverse weather event, but the nature of these potential stressors is inconsistent and statistically robust analysis is lacking in all but a few cases. Nevertheless, the idea of weather triggers of wildlife die-offs from bacterial septicaemia is compelling across the northern temperate zone (Annex 3.5). Clear causal links and mechanisms for the triggering of the haemorrhagic septicaemia confirmed in 2015, occurring at a population level, are yet to be fully determined but considerable progress is being made to enable plausible hypotheses to be tested. A full review of ungulate mortalities and Pasteurella has also been completed and due for publication in Ecosphere in the next months.

The NERC grant has provided an excellent platform to begin to explore the complex disease ecology of the saiga antelope, and its findings will have relevance to a much wider geography and animal science community. Haemorrhagic septicaemia (HS) was considered second only to rinderpest in the Asian subcontinent in terms of impact on livestock over the 20th century, but was largely controlled through the use of vaccines. It remains a concern in many situations of modern agriculture and with some evidence of resurgence globally. Whether climate change is the key here is debatable but the science is needed to prove or disprove this as a driving force in the HS die off syndrome. The epidemiology of the disease tends to point to the need to investigate non-infectious diseases and parasite dynamics, ecologically linked to the environment. Natural populations are an excellent indicator of change in the environment and specific habitats, usually through changes in their own populations and their parasites, and saigas covering a huge landscape are a case in point.

This event and the timely data collected through the project demonstrate that spontaneous invasion of the blood stream of the host (through body membranes or other route) by commensal parasites (in this case bacteria which might be an integral component of the gut microbiome) has the potential for large scale impacts on populations of threatened ungulates. The likely triggers are environmental and the risks of similar events in this and other systems in future are unknown, but could be substantial under increasing climate variability. Implications extend beyond conservation of individual species to ecosystem health and integrity, and disease risks for life support systems including agriculture. Mass mortality events from bacterial diseases have also been reported in reindeer, caribou and musk oxen in the northern temperate zone and Arctic and some speculatively linked to climate change. The extensive communication through the project, with other researchers working in this sector has led to a proposal to establish a community of practice working in particular on mass die-off events and the environmental factors leading to bacterial proliferation.
Exploitation Route Range states, conservation and research institutions under the guidance of the CMS process are adjusting policies and actions including future research and saiga conservation management priorities according to the findings so far. Principle will be attending the CMS range state meeting in VILM Germany Technical Workshop under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Concerning Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use of the Saiga Antelope (Saiga spp.) this April to present findings.

This work will contribute to the overall debate on climate change and mass mortality events particularly in the northern hemisphere.

The pathologies and role of pathogens from within the mammal microbiome, in disease emergence events have been advanced and opens a major area for research to clarify these unusual and dramatic epidemiologies of wide significance. There are numerous angles of research possible and we are pursuing opportunities including on: the microbiome and latency aspects; animal physiology with respect to environmental and body temperature fluctuations sometimes associated with desert or extreme environment species e.g. bats, oryx and the relationship with commensal bacterial growth; energetics, immunity and virulence; precise relationships between significant weather factors and MME with respect to P multocida exploring possible model systems for infection studies.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other

URL http://eidc.ceh.ac.uk/@@search?SearchableText=SAIGA
 
Description Preliminary findings reported at the Conference of Parties of the Convention in Migratory Species Saiga range states has led to a shift in the Range States and Donor/conservation agencies strategies on saiga conservation to take greater account of the disease risks. The unusual nature of these events has generated global interest amongst the general public and specialist communities working in disease and with wildlife. This was prominent around the time of the outbreak in 2015 but also in response to the synthesis publication in Science Advances in 2018 which attracted an altimetric score of over 560. These findings are made available to the National Authorities even though science literature in English is not widely read in Kazakhstan. Copies of the Science Advances paper are deposited with the responsible Ministry in Astana and a full translation is due for completion in the next months for dissemination through ACBK the conservation NGO supporting the research team. Various initiatives including standard operating procedures for saiga disease outbreaks were developed jointly with local authorities and FAO and these are now available in English and Russian but as yet not written into Kazakh legislation. The challenges in disseminating science in English medium is concern in this region and it will take some time for the data to filter through. The government has agreed a significant financial investment into saiga research since this work and some credit is warranted in how this collaboration has influenced those decisions. The importance of research and monitoring has been shown to clarify complex disease ecologies and the need for better systems in National authorities to undertake this work including development of laboratory and field capacities and collaborations in Central Asia and particularly Kazakhstan. Constraints of transfer of samples across National boundaries has also arisen and momentum given to modifying Convention in International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) rules to facilitate diagnostic specimen movements and accelerate diagnosis.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Other
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description CMS COP Saiga range states
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
 
Description Kazakhstan Government Wildlife Disease Outbreak policy and standard operating procedures
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact The policy will improve the conservation of wildlife particularly saiga in Central Asia.
 
Description Morris Animal Foundation
Amount $50,000 (USD)
Funding ID D17ZO-701 
Organisation Morris Animal Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United States
Start 02/2017 
End 02/2020
 
Description Peoples Trust for Endangered Species
Amount £20,875 (GBP)
Organisation People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Unknown
Start 07/2015 
End 06/2017
 
Description Saiga support
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation Saiga Conservation Alliance 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Unknown
Start 07/2015 
End 07/2016
 
Description Saiga support
Amount £8,000 (GBP)
Organisation Fauna & Flora International 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 07/2016
 
Title Multidisciplinary Approach to Disease Outbreak Investigation 
Description Outbreak investigation is normally following a proscribed approach with limited disciplinary involvement. This study brought much wider community together in the pursuit of knowledge about drivers of haemorrhagic septicaemia which killed 60% of the worlds population of a critically endangered species the saiga antelope in a month in Central Kazakhstan. The use of modelling approaches on historic and detailed research in 2015 enabled strong associations to be identified between environmental factors, pathogen emergence and host response. 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - mammalian in vivo 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Established a principle for investigation of Mass Mortality Events affecting mammals 
URL http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/4/1/eaao2314/DC1
 
Title DMP EIDC Saiga antelope mortalities 
Description The project is developing a submission to the NERC EIDC database to contain an evidence review on mortalities of saiga as well as data collected during outbreak investigation, ecological, environmental and laboratory studies. This is 75% populated and remaining database entries to be completed by mid 2018 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The database is still in development and will be available through NERC EIDC late 2018 according to the plan 
 
Title NERC spatial model saiga outbreak 2015 Kazakhstan 
Description Development of a spatial model for exploring possible environmental co-factors to explain mass die off of saiga antelope Kazakhstan Development of a systems dynamic model for examining co-factors driving and determining disease outbreaks affecting saiga in Kazakhstan 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact In development 
 
Description Conservation Kazakhstan 
Organisation Kazakhstan - Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan
PI Contribution Support to Conservation objectives
Collaborator Contribution Logistical support and partnership in country. Contribution to biological understanding from zoology and botany perspectives.
Impact Ongoing partnership and research methodology for wildlife health to be sustained by the Ministry Responsible for Saiga (Min of Agriculture and Min of Education and Science Republic of Kazakhstan). Monitoring teams and standard operating procedures for outbreak investigation.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Ecological support E.J. Milner Gulland 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Department of Zoology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Partnership on project multidisciplinary team opportunities for development of research
Collaborator Contribution Contributed to research and publication
Impact Joint publication and wide dissemination of information arising
Start Year 2015
 
Description FISH studies Bristol University 
Organisation University of Bristol
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Samples for the FISH studies provided from outbreak in 2015 in Kazakhstan
Collaborator Contribution Analysis using FISH technique to assist in exploring pathogenesis of disease in 2015 providing evidence for P multocida invasion of the gut wall in the sick saiga leading to septicaemia. One possible portal of entry of the bacteria.
Impact See Science Advances Paper contribution to the outcomes
Start Year 2016
 
Description Freidrich Loeffler Institute Berlin 
Organisation Friedrich Loeffler Institute
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Provide material for general virological research at FLI from Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution NGS and pasteurella multocida genomics
Impact Sampled analysed by NGS and Pasteurella multocida pathogen identified and genotyped.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Microbiological studies Saiga antelope 
Organisation Ministry of education and science of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Country Kazakhstan 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Support and training of Biosafety Institute staff.
Collaborator Contribution Microbiological studies in support of the outbreak investigation and related research, student short term placements for RVC
Impact Extensive diagnostics and research of pathogens associated with this MME in saiga antelope. Joint publications.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Parasitology saiga 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Department School of Biological Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Partnership enabling student and staff engagement on saiga research around Mass Mortality events.
Collaborator Contribution Contribution to the multidisciplinary research looking at parasites of saiga and related dynamics and disease
Impact Documentation of parasites of saiga during research missions
Start Year 2015
 
Description Pirbright Institute 
Organisation The Pirbright Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Providing material of interest to PI investigations on viral diseases from Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution NGS on samples from Kazakhstan saiga mortalities to confirm viral absence or presence
Impact Confirmed absence of virus of potential concern to the massive die off of saiga antelope in Kazakhstan.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Saiga Mortality Research 
Organisation Catholic University of Louvain
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Opportunity for research and collaboration. Contribution of coordination and pathological investigation of mortality events in saiga Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution Multidisciplinary team contributing different data sets and analysis to understand disease ecology affecting saiga in Central Asia and Mass Mortality and environmental triggers
Impact Publications on disease events in saiga:
Start Year 2012
 
Description Saiga Mortality Research 
Organisation Friedrich Loeffler Institute
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Opportunity for research and collaboration. Contribution of coordination and pathological investigation of mortality events in saiga Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution Multidisciplinary team contributing different data sets and analysis to understand disease ecology affecting saiga in Central Asia and Mass Mortality and environmental triggers
Impact Publications on disease events in saiga:
Start Year 2012
 
Description Saiga Mortality Research 
Organisation Kazakhstan - Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan
PI Contribution Opportunity for research and collaboration. Contribution of coordination and pathological investigation of mortality events in saiga Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution Multidisciplinary team contributing different data sets and analysis to understand disease ecology affecting saiga in Central Asia and Mass Mortality and environmental triggers
Impact Publications on disease events in saiga:
Start Year 2012
 
Description Saiga Mortality Research 
Organisation Ministry of education and science of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Country Kazakhstan 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Opportunity for research and collaboration. Contribution of coordination and pathological investigation of mortality events in saiga Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution Multidisciplinary team contributing different data sets and analysis to understand disease ecology affecting saiga in Central Asia and Mass Mortality and environmental triggers
Impact Publications on disease events in saiga:
Start Year 2012
 
Description Saiga Mortality Research 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Department School of Biological Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Opportunity for research and collaboration. Contribution of coordination and pathological investigation of mortality events in saiga Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution Multidisciplinary team contributing different data sets and analysis to understand disease ecology affecting saiga in Central Asia and Mass Mortality and environmental triggers
Impact Publications on disease events in saiga:
Start Year 2012
 
Description Saiga Mortality Research 
Organisation Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Opportunity for research and collaboration. Contribution of coordination and pathological investigation of mortality events in saiga Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution Multidisciplinary team contributing different data sets and analysis to understand disease ecology affecting saiga in Central Asia and Mass Mortality and environmental triggers
Impact Publications on disease events in saiga:
Start Year 2012
 
Description Saiga Mortality Research 
Organisation The Pirbright Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Opportunity for research and collaboration. Contribution of coordination and pathological investigation of mortality events in saiga Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution Multidisciplinary team contributing different data sets and analysis to understand disease ecology affecting saiga in Central Asia and Mass Mortality and environmental triggers
Impact Publications on disease events in saiga:
Start Year 2012
 
Description Saiga Mortality Research 
Organisation University of Bristol
Department School of Biological Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Opportunity for research and collaboration. Contribution of coordination and pathological investigation of mortality events in saiga Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution Multidisciplinary team contributing different data sets and analysis to understand disease ecology affecting saiga in Central Asia and Mass Mortality and environmental triggers
Impact Publications on disease events in saiga:
Start Year 2012
 
Description Saiga Mortality Research 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Department of Zoology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Opportunity for research and collaboration. Contribution of coordination and pathological investigation of mortality events in saiga Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution Multidisciplinary team contributing different data sets and analysis to understand disease ecology affecting saiga in Central Asia and Mass Mortality and environmental triggers
Impact Publications on disease events in saiga:
Start Year 2012
 
Description Saiga Mortality Research 
Organisation Wake Forest University
Department Wake Forest School of Medicine
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Opportunity for research and collaboration. Contribution of coordination and pathological investigation of mortality events in saiga Central Asia
Collaborator Contribution Multidisciplinary team contributing different data sets and analysis to understand disease ecology affecting saiga in Central Asia and Mass Mortality and environmental triggers
Impact Publications on disease events in saiga:
Start Year 2012
 
Description Sweden Ecological studies N Singh 
Organisation Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Opportunity to join research team
Collaborator Contribution Contribution on ecological and phonological studies of saiga migration, habitat
Impact Publication jointly
Start Year 2015
 
Description Wake Forest School of Medicine 
Organisation Wake Forest University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provided material for diagnostic work - histopathology - saiga antelope
Collaborator Contribution Histopathological study of the samples sent.
Impact Made a very significant discovery of viral inclusion bodies in the lung epithelium opening up the possibility of earlier viral epidemic that may have influenced the immune response to Pasteurella multocida. The histology is indicative of a paramyxovirus
Start Year 2016
 
Description Wildlife Conservation Society 
Organisation Wildlife Conservation Society
Country United States 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Sharing of saiga material for histopathology review
Collaborator Contribution Review of histopathological material
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description Al Jazeera 1 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact International awareness raising and focus on climate change increased
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/kazakhstan-antelopes-saiga-160525181510378.html
 
Description Attend Convention Migratory Species range state meeting (several of research team involved) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Range state meeting to discuss conservation measures and activities by the countries on saiga antelope. The research team presented results and engaged on debate and contributed to outcomes which included significant agreement on disease monitoring and engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.cms.int/sites/default/files/document/unep-cms_saiga%20mos3_mr_annex%207_technical%20meeti...
 
Description Bristol Masters Wildlife Conservation and Health 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Lecture on Saiga mortalities to students at Bristol Conservation Health MSc
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Business insider 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Awareness created
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://uk.businessinsider.com/saiga-antelope-deaths-bacteria-climate-change-2016-4?r=US&IR=T
 
Description CNN report 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact CNN media blog increased awareness global audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/15/world/saiga-antelope-mass-deaths-irpt/
 
Description Chatham House event Disease Outbreaks IDRAM 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Infectious Disease Risk Assessment and Management (IDRAM): From the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to a One Health approach to shared preparedness and response for health emergencies - using the example of the PPR and Saiga disease outbreaks in Central Asia and Africa as exemplars of the constraints in these regions need for research and improved implementation of surveillance outbreak investigation and control measures.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Contribution to tropical medicine courses University of Utrecht Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Netherlands 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Contribute to understanding on climate weather and disease to course on Trop Vet Medicine
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Deutsche Weller 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact DW highly respected outlet on science and contemporary affairs - science based media and popular
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dw.com/en/cracking-a-deadly-mystery-in-the-kazakh-steppes/a-19377925
 
Description Explaining the Saiga antelope dieoffs, Swedish Association for Hunting and WIldlife Management (May 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Hunting audience concerned with major mortality events that would affect the industry - good feedback and awareness raising
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Explaining the Saiga antelope dieoffs, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå (August 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Informed audience of agricultural specialists and population scientists including remote sensing department well received and many questions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Express media Kazakhstan 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Local National media outlet informing on Saiga mortality
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://express-k.kz/news/?ELEMENT_ID=71852
 
Description Extreme events, indicators of Planetary Health? Yamal Russia Nov 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Expert grouping to consider mass mortality event in Yamal Summer 2016 affecting reindeer - anthrax. Presented on saiga mortalities and diagnostic challenges - well received and contributed significantly to the decision making on interventions on MME in Siberian and Arctic ecosystems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description FCVMS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talk to the One Health Society of the Vets and Medics at University of Cambridge on the saiga mortalities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description FZS conservation website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact FZS website increasing awareness in conservation community
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://fzs.org/en/news/press-releases/signs-hope-saiga-antelope-after-mass-die-2015/
 
Description Guardian 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Awareness raising on environment and research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://news.mongabay.com/2016/06/after-mass-die-off-saiga-antelope-numbers-go-up-in-kazakhstan/
 
Description Guardian 2 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Recurring interest ...in research NERC and saiga problem
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.theguardian.com/science/animal-magic/2016/apr/14/mass-death-saiga-antelope-kazakhstan-ba...
 
Description Houston Chronicle 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact US Regional news outlet increasing international awareness on the research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Saiga-antelopes-ravaged-by-mysterious-epidemic-8316167....
 
Description IFL Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Media awareness amongst scientists general
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/mystery-mass-antelope-die-finally-solved/
 
Description International Business Times 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact International media awareness raising
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/kazakhstan-saiga-antelope-population-shows-signs-recovery-after-2015-mass-d...
 
Description Kazakh Government Media report 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Update from Government largely based on research outputs of NERC project. This helped to reduce political heat over the handling of this major outbreak - international effort improved credibility of Government
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://mgov.kz/po-rezultatam-aviaucheta-chislennost-sajgakov-v-kazahstane-sostavila-bolee-108-tys-os...
 
Description Landscapes and infectious disease - where are the boundaries? Dutch and Belgian Wildlife Disease societies (Oct 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Well received and strong response
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Lecture to the American College of Veterinary Pathologists 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Lecture of saiga mortality 2015 and subsequent research findings. This was presented by remote seminar facilities of the ACVP.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Mongabay 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact General awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://news.mongabay.com/2016/06/after-mass-die-off-saiga-antelope-numbers-go-up-in-kazakhstan/
 
Description Mongolia PPR Regional Strategy Meeting FAO 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Technical advisor to cross sectoral meeting on regional control of PPR organised by FAO in Ulan Bator Mongolia in light of PPR epidemic in Mongolia and China.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description New York Times 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Ongoing interest from NYT disseminating research results NERC project - science communication
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/science/saigas-kazakhstan.html?_r=3
 
Description Notre Planet 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Environment interested audience - French speaking
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.notre-planete.info/actualites/4448-mortalite-massive-antilopes-saiga
 
Description Oxford Biology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professional interest group - awareness raising
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.biology.ox.ac.uk/downloads/biology_at_oxford_issue05.pdf
 
Description PHYS ORG SCIENCE WEBSITE 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Website report on research findings. Increase scientific awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://phys.org/news/2016-04-saiga-die-off.html
 
Description Presentation on saiga research to NINA ecological institute Trondheim Norway 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on saiga research findings and engagement with NINA scientists on ecological concerns with climate change and disease. Organised by Bjorn Ytrehus who has worked extensively on musk ox and disease.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Public media saiga mortalities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Numerous interviews including; BBC World Service, New York Times, Science, and others reaching an estimated audience of over 20 million people. Film production engaging on NERC research team to develop a Nat Geo based documentary. There is considerable focus on what could cause such a dramatic die off of animals and what the underlying drivers could be, given the unusual scale and near 100% mortalities experienced in the population in Central Kazakhstan and reduction of the world population by 80% over a matter of weeks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description RVC Global Health 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talk on saiga to the Global Health Society Royal Veterinary College
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description RVC research community 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Informing the Royal Vet College research community and students - increasing awareness and collaboration internally
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.rvc.ac.uk/research/programmes/livestock-production-and-health/news/countries-agree-on-act...
 
Description Royal Anthropological Institute Anthropology, Weather and Climate Change Conference at the British Museum ( May 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Broad meeting on climate change - contributed to a disease and climate change group session - small esoteric group excellent discussion afterwards on general disease emergence in northern temperate systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description SAIGA CONSERVATION ALLIANCE NEWSLETTERS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Series of articles in Saiga website outputs increasing awareness in community supporting saiga conservation internationally
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://saiga-conservation.org/2016/05/30/blog-from-the-field-in-kazakhstan/
 
Description Saiga Mortalities - Glasgow School of Life Sciences 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lecture to Life Sciences department - invited. Excellent response from audience many questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Saiga Resource Center 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Resource Centre providing ongoing updates on research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.saigaresourcecentre.com/background/news-archive/2016/03/saiga-antelope-mass-die-off-in-th...
 
Description Saiga Spotlight 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Newsletter on saiga specialist conservation outputs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.saigaresourcecentre.com/background/news-archive/2016/03/saiga-antelope-mass-die-off-in-th...
 
Description Saiga mortalities - Institute of Infectious Animal Diseases Texas A&M 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote address on saiga mortalities to the Institute of Infectious Animal Diseases Texas A&M main institute for the Homeland Security in the USA. Created considerable interest and debate with senior disease scientists in the USA.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Saiga mortalities - Swansea 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact University of Swansea, Department of Biology (April 2015) invited lecture, considerable interest and response from audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Saiga mortalities talk inaugural lecture University Oxford Dept Zoology Nov 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Inaugural lecture for New Professorial post of Co-investigator - sparked considerable debate amongst attendees and questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Saiga saga update:media output lovenature.com 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Awareness article to lovenature audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://community.lovenature.com/blog/saiga-saga-update-tension-mounts-as-scientists-monitor-species-...
 
Description San Diego Zoo Global Conservation Unit (August 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Well received sparked debate
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description United Nations Environment Programme Convention in Migratory Species Conference of Parties Uzbekistan 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact UNEP CMS COP on saiga conservation. Where activities in range states of saiga antelope are agreed to support the conservation of the species
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description University of Bangor, School of Environment and Natural Resources (April 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Saiga talk well received and strong audience response.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description University of California Davis presentation faculty of veterinary medicine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation - advertised lecture to students, scientists and professionals in veterinary medicine at the University of California.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description University of Roehampton, Department of Biology (Jan 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Well received talk on saiga - considerable debate and questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Veterinary Research Club 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting of the Veterinary Research Club at Royal Veterinary College to present on Saiga mortalities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Veterinary Research Club UK at Royal Veterinary College (December 2015) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk to professional veterinary researchers in the UK retired current and students. Considerable debate and input from colleagues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Why did more than 200,000 saigas die in less than 2 weeks Royal Holloway, Department of Biology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Description of the die off of saiga and update on research activities and findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Wildlife Disease Association, Ithaca Meeting - Al Franzmann Memorial Lecture (August 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Al Franzmann memorial lecture on saiga mortalities. Specialist wildlife disease audience. Well received - a lot of feedback and questioning.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Wildlife, Extreme events, Research and Welfare? AHPA RSPCA Sep 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Professional workshop on welfare and research at Animal Health Protection Agency sponsored by RSPCA. Many wildlife researchers from UK. Ethical aspects of Mass mortality considered.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description saiga on the brink Press Release 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Science Advances publication synthesis arising from this research http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/1/eaao2314/tab-article-info in top 5% of all research outputs reported by Altmetric https://scienceadvances.altmetric.com/details/31815306 This led to many media events and some educational material being produced e.g. http://nautil.us/issue/56/perspective/the-antelope-killing-fields and many similar outputs in science and popular media.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018