We are excited to announce our new interview series called KEYS, where we will be taking you into the field to meet the Key Conservation Pilot Projects! Our Pilot Projects are conservation organizations from all over the world who have joined us to help test the app in the field while it is in development. Each Pilot Project has an important role in giving their feedback on what they like about the app and what changes would help us make the app better. Their feedback helps us to make sure everything is working properly before we move onto the next stage of development. Over the next few months, we will share the important work these conservation organizations are doing and how they are vital to Key's development through these exclusive interviews so be sure to stay tuned!
Our organization is called Saiga Conservation Alliance.
WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
We are based in Oxford, England, United Kingdom.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION AND THE WORK THAT YOU DO
Since 2006 the Saiga Conservation Alliance has been working to bring people together, from within the saiga's range states and internationally, to restore the saiga to its rightful place in the ecosystem and in people's lives. Since its formation, the SCA has played a pivotal role in empowering conservationists from across the range states to work together to implement conservation actions for the species, raise the profile of the unique steppe ecosystem among decision-makers in the saiga's range states, and help conservationists, teachers and rural villagers to work with children so that the next generation understand and value their wildlife and its role in their cultural heritage.
Some of our main activities over this time have been: Playing a key role in coordinating the international Action Plan for the MOU on Saiga Antelope (under CMS and CITES), which is signed up to by the governments of all the range states and China, and which guides actions and investments for conservation. This is seen by CITES and CMS as their most successful collaborative action plan for a species, and is a flagship for international cooperation. Exchange of information between people across the range states and internationally, through Saiga News, which gives the same voice and access (as writers and readers) to people from remote villages and schools, right through national-level researchers and international policy-makers in the big conservation conventions and international researchers and NGOs. This has been published twice a year since 2008, in six languages so that everyone can easily understand it, and is named by the CMS-CITES MOU as a key platform for information exchange. Raising the profile of saigas, and of the work done by in-country colleagues, through social media, our website and providing the go-to resource for all interested in saigas, in the form of the Saiga Resource Centre website (a repository for photos, videos, articles and reports, and educational materials on saigas and steppe wildlife). This is named by CMS-CITES as the official repository for information provided by conservationists and governments on their work to support the Action Plan and Work Programme on saigas. Developing and supporting children's educational programmes throughout the range in Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, including founding Steppe Wildlife Clubs with a broad environmental curriculum in rural villages in the saiga range, Saiga Day, teachers' exchanges and camps for exchange of experiences and enthusiasm between educationalists and children. This means the next generation will be more informed and more active about their environment, its species and their conservation.
WHAT SPECIES DO YOU WORK WITH AND WHAT HABITATS DO YOU WORK IN?
We work with saiga antelopes in an arid steppe and semi-desert grasslands throughout Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES THAT YOU FACE AS AN ORGANIZATION?
The biggest challenges we face as an organization is the lack of funding to support the many activities we would like and could do to help saigas. Because of our lack of means we are unable to disseminate information about saiga antelope to a wider audience, which is essential to our work to help protect them.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE STORIES FROM THE FIELD?
In 2018, two scientists watched saigas at their watering places and, in theory, should not have interfered with what was happening. Among the antelopes who came to drink there were many females with newly born saiga calves, who frolicked merrily by the water. But suddenly a wolf appeared near the watering hole, the saigas began to leave in a hurry, but two calves hesitated and as a result found themselves far away from the main group. The wolf approached them, scientists saw him preparing for a jump. At the last moment, their nerves could not stand - loudly shouting and waving their hands, they ran out of their ambush and chased the wolf off. I like this story, because here the human factor overpowered the scheme according to which "it is necessary to act."
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE A KEY CONSERVATION PILOT PROJECT?
We want to help with the development of the Key Conservation app because we think that this application will be very useful for conservation non-profit organizations and we want to help make it a success.
WHAT KEY APP FEATURE ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO USING?
We are looking forward to having assistance in the widest possible dissemination of information about our organization and on the conservation of the saiga as a whole. This is vital to us because when more people know about the problems we face to help the saiga the easier it will be to gain support to solve them.
PLEASE SHARE WHERE WE CAN FIND YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The links for our social medias are:
ALL PHOTOS PROVIDED BY: SAIGA CONSERVATION ALLIANCE