The risk of introducing infectious diseases is associated with saiga antelopes susceptible to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and peste des petits ruminants (PPRV).
According to the Russian Geographical Society, 2022 has seen a dramatic increase in the population of saiga antelopes in the Volga-Ural interfluve, as well as mass cases of calving locations occurring in Russian territory, including the Saratov and Volgograd regions. The animal population growth is driven by climate shifts, mild snowless winters, and increased animal protection measures.
At the same time, ARRIAH data shows that, within the period from 2021 to August 2022, the disease situation of FMD, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), anthrax and an uncertain situation of PPR and infectious disease outbreaks of undetermined etiology worsened in Kazakhstan. According to media reports, this leads to mortality in domestic and wild animals from undiagnosed diseases on a monthly basis.
The large saiga antelope population and natural deaths of individual species have attracted a large number of black vultures to the Northern Caspian region. Together with steppe and imperial eagles they follow saiga herds waiting for prey.
On the back of this, ARRIAH experts recommend that in regions of Russia, where migration of wildlife is observed, cattle should be kept at closed-house farms. It is also necessary to increase measures aimed at prevention of livestock sharing pastures with wild and domestic animals. Besides that, it is recommended to trace all suspected cases of FMD and PPR with mandatory testing at the FGBI ARRIAH, and to ensure preventive vaccination and revaccination of susceptible domestic animals against FMD.