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Kazakhstan extends ban on hunting endangered antelope

January 18, 2011 |  2:10 pm


ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Authorities have extended a ban on hunting the endangered saiga antelope in hopes of boosting the animal's dwindling numbers.

A government decree published Tuesday says the ban will remain in effect through 2020.

Conservation experts say the saiga population has plummeted from around 1 million in the mid-1990s to about 80,000.

Despite a 2001 ban, the distinctive bulbous-nosed animal continues to be poached for its horns, used as a component in traditional Chinese medicines.

Around 12,000 saiga, which are found mainly in western Kazakhstan, died last year of a mysterious disease.

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-- Associated Press

Photo: Saiga drink from a lake outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, in an undated photo. Credit: Anatoly Ustinenko / AFP/Getty Images

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