ASTANA — The death toll in a sudden die-off of critically endangered saiga antelope is nearing 20,000, according to authorities in northern Kazakhstan who are still unsure of the cause.
The Kazakh Department for Emergency Situations said that 19,231 carcasses had been buried in the Qostanai region by late on May 19.
Officials in the adjoining Aqtobe region also reported on May 20 that they had found 68 dead saigas in the Irgiz-Torghai natural reserve.
The cause of death is unclear, but authorities suspect the culprit is a bacterial infection carried in the mouth and breathing passage known as pasteurellosis.
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