12 September 2013 - The CMS Secretariat has learned that a shipment of 4,470 antelope horns, thought to be Saiga (Saiga
tatarica), were seized on 5 September, 2013 by Chinese authorities in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The horns are thought to have come from neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and are estimated to have a street value of $ 22 million. CMS commends the Chinese authorities for their actions leading to the seizure.
Since the early 1990s, global Saiga numbers have declined by over 95%, mainly due to poaching for their horns which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. As a result, the Saiga range states, together with China and the Chinese Traditional Medicine Association, have been engaging in conservation activities and international collaboration under the CMS Saiga MOU. There are currently estimated to be around 85,000 Saiga left (down from 1 million in the early 1990s), spread over their five range countries; Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. CMS works closely with the CITES Secretariat in order to combat illegal trade of Saiga horns.