Protecting Migration Corridors: Challenges and Optimism for Mongolian Saiga

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

PLoS Biology



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Migrations are an important ecological phenomena rapidly declining throughout the world [1]. Within many ungulate populations, migration is a polymorphic trait; animals can cover either long or short distances, pass across broad swaths of land such as those of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), or squeeze through bottlenecks as narrow as 120 meters as described for pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) [2,3]. Given that the persistence of terrestrial migration is challenged primarily by anthropogenic forces, protection is often possible, assuming the availability of appropriate knowledge concerning movements, threats, and meta-population structure, and the willingness to implement coincident conservation actions that involve local decision makers. Here, we illustrate these issues by profiling an endangered species—the Mongolian saiga (Saiga tatarica mongolica; Figure 1), highlighting the importance of protecting movement routes in light of habitat, human culture, and other sources of population risk.