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  • This dataset records the Saiga antelope die-off and calving sites in Kazakhstan. It represents the locations (and where available dates) of (i) die-offs and (ii) normal calving events in the Betpak-dala population of the saiga antelope, in which three major mass mortality events have been recorded since 1988. In total, the data contains 214 saiga die-off and calving sites obtained from field visits, aerial surveys, telemetry and literature. Locations derived from field data, aerial surveys or telemetry are polygons representing the actual size and shape of the die-off or calving sites; locations sourced from the literature are point data around which buffers of 6km were created, representing the average size of calving aggregations. Of the 214 locations listed, 135 sites for which environmental data were available were used to model the probability of a die-off event. The collection and use of these data are written up in more detail in papers which are currently under review (when published links will be added to this record). Saiga antelope are susceptible to mass mortality events, the most severe of which tend to be caused by haemorrhagic septicaemia following infection by the bacteria Pasteurella multocida. These die-off events tend to occur in May during calving, when saigas gather in dense aggregations which can be represented spatially as relatively small sites. The Betpak-dala population is one of three in Kazakhstan, located in the central provinces of the country (see map). Full details about this dataset can be found at https://doi.org/10.5285/8ad12782-e939-4834-830a-c89e503a298b

  • Field-pathological findings of 33 saiga antelope carcasses (adults and new-born) found in two sites (Tengiz and Turgai, Kazakhstan) during a mass die-off event in May 2015. In Kazakhstan May 2015, approximately 200,000 saiga antelopes died within a month-period causing a loss of two-thirds of the global population. The dramatic event occurred during calving season when females and young males stop migrating and form massive aggregations for calving purposes. With 100% morbidity and 100% mortality of affected herds observed, the 2015 die-off left the largest saiga population, Betpak-Dala, with approximately 30,000 survivors based on post mortality census, highlighting the imminent extinction threats to this critically endangered species. The lack of pathological investigations during historical mass mortality events has limited our understanding of disease-related mortalities in saiga antelope. Generally, aetiological agents were isolated from dead saiga, but the disease course and a full necropsy were not performed nor present in the records. However, for the first time, a full pathology report was possible during 2015. Full details about this dataset can be found at https://doi.org/10.5285/30cbfba7-f9a1-47d5-abdb-f2741041e487