Saiga tatarica tatarica
Saiga de Rusia (Sp), Russischer Saiga (G), Saiga de Russie (F).
DESCRIPTION (male) Shoulder height 30-31 inches (76-79 cm). Weight 90-100 pounds (41-45 kg). Females are somewhat smaller than males. The saiga is a rather odd-looking animal, short and a little heavy in proportion to its length, with a remarkable swollen nose. The head is carried low and the neck is extended forward. The heavy coat is cinnamon-tan in summer, with underparts, rump and tail white, becoming uniformly whitish in winter. Only males grow horns, which are short, ringed, somewhat lyrate, and pale amber in color, becoming almost translucent at the tips. The proboscis-like nose has downward pointing nostrils, each containing a sac lined with mucous membranes (a feature it shares only with whales), and complex bone structure. It is thought the specialized proboscis may be designed to warm and moisten inhaled air.
HABITAT Grassy plains and semi-deserts. May enter open forest in summer.
DISTRIBUTION Its European distribution is limited to the Kalmyk Republic in the southeastern part of the Russian Federation, and adjacent western Kazakhstan west of the Ural River, which is the boundary between Europe and Asia. Introduced on the islands of Bulla and Glinyany in the Caspian Sea. Outside Europe, the Russian saiga is found in Asia from the Ural River in Kazakhstan eastward to northern Xinjiang in China.