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Confiscated saiga horn publicly destroyed in Kazakhstan

On October 18, 2018, 148 horns, 5 carcasses and 31 saiga skulls were publicly destroyed in the Kazakh city of Uralsk in the west of the country. The saiga parts were burnt, the ashes were later buried at a depth of eleven metres.

Burning of saiga horn
148 confiscated saiga horns were set on fire on 18 October 2018 in Uralsk.

This public destruction of saiga horns was initiated by our Kazakh partner organization ACBK (Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan) as part of their information campaign against illegal saiga horn trade and has been planned for years. ACBK coordinated the event with the responsible national authorities. The aim was to publicly destroy confiscated saiga horns and derivatives, in order to eliminate all possibilities of them being sold illegally. 

Destroying illegal wildlife products such as saiga horns is controversial. There are people who believe that instead of burning saiga horns they should be sold by the government and thereby contribute to the state budget. ACBK, however, considers this approach is fundamentally wrong and would create a market for illegal products. We are convinced that the public destruction of saiga horns and illegal wildlife products is an important step in the fight against poaching and illegal trafficking.

To increase awareness Kazakh media representatives were invited and many of them covered this event. The burning was broadcasted on national television.

Saiga antelopes are listed on the IUCN red list of threatened species as critically endangered. Poaching is a very serious threat to this species. Saiga horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine. 

Read more about our cooperation with ACBK to save the saiga antelope and about the work we do together in Kazakhstan.