Scientists: Dr. Elena Bykova and Olya Esipova
Organisation: Saiga Conservation Alliance
How PTES has helped us so far:
Over the last decade, PTES has shown us incredible support encouraging ongoing saiga conservation work. Since 2010, PTES has supported four of our initiatives: we worked together to build public engagement that turned into a network of steppe wildlife clubs across all saiga range states, we’ve received emergency response support in times of saiga mass die-off, and studied a recently re-discovered isolated population of saigas in Uzbekistan. This is the fifth time we have come together to work on saiga conservation, building on this strong foundation.
I have worked as a zoologist and ecologist, conserving the unique biodiversity of Uzbekistan, for more than 25 years. As co-founder of the Saiga Conservation Alliance (SCA), I work with conservationists and scientists across the saiga range. Together we promote wildlife and ecosystem conservation to communities, schools and local governments.
Having been raised by a family of dedicated biologists, I learned at a young age to appreciate the remarkable beauty of Uzbekistan. I began volunteering with the SCA as a teenager and quickly discovered the complexity of conservation, being tied to economic, political and social issues of the region. My early community work led me to pursue a degree in Psychology focusing on social science as a tool to create positive conservation impact.
Why we love saigas
We love saigas for their bizarre uniqueness – their iconic wobbly trunk-like noses and stunning large eyes make it hard to confuse them with any other! But it’s not all about the looks. Saigas are true survivors, exceptional in their ability to adapt to the most harsh environments and extreme conditions. They’re also important to the people they share their land with, and are known as “spirits of the steppe”. Numerous folktales and legends talk persist about them, even today.
Our goal is to lay the foundations for a sustainable future for both the people and nature of the Aral Sea region by developing and implementing a plan for the protection of Resurrection Island, and securing new income streams that would facilitate the conservation and restoration of the project area, giving unique species such as saiga a chance to survive and thrive.
What your donation can achieve
Can help support saiga rangers with vital field equipment to carry out their monitoring.
Can help prepare Resurrection Island for the developing ecological tourism programmes such as bird watching and stargazing.
Can help build a field base for rangers in Resurrection Island so they can stay overnight and patrol more effectively.