Historically, humans have hunted wildlife for a range of reasons – particularly food and sport – and in the past, such activities were conducted at a scale that was sustainable and legal. In many cases, however, this is no longer true. The methods used and the numbers taken have changed beyond measure, and new and more lucrative drivers of hunting have emerged.
The Central Asian Mountains are home to four beautiful species of wild ungulate – two sheep, the Urial and Argali, sharing the slopes with two goats, the Markhor and Asiatic Ibex. All are now threatened by illegal or unsustainable hunting.
Herds of migrating Saiga have been an iconic sight on the steppes of Central Asia for millennia, where they are uniquely adapted to survive the region’s weather extremes. But this inspiring ancient phenomenon could soon be a thing of the past, in the absence of actions to tackle illegal hunting and other current threats.