Today’s uncommon creature is the critically endangered saiga antelope (suggested by Dream of the Scribble Fiend). Habitat loss and illegal hunting have dramatically cut population numbers, but the odd face and bulbous nose of this creature makes it unlikely he would ever be the start of conversation posters. The large humped nose looks super strange but it actually serves a pretty important purpose. Since the nose is flexible and inflatable it helps the animal to breathe clean air during dusty summers and warm air during cold winters.

The saiga antelope can be found on the Asian continent in only three locations: Kalmykia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The horn of the saiga antelope is thought to have therapeutic properties and was used in traditional Chinese medicine, effectively wiping out the population in China. In Singapore, merchants are selling “Cooling Water” right alongside other herbal drinks. However, the magic ingredient in this water, which is thought to contain wondrous properties to bring down one’s “heatiness,” are horn shavings from the endangered saiga antelope. Since only males have horns, this has caused a collapse in reproductive rates in the wild.

Unlike deer antlers that fall off every year, antelope antlers are permanent. Sadly, most consumers believe the horns are found naturally and are obtained without killing the creature. This is not at all the case, and the people actually selling the product are well aware of the short supply. So the tourists and locals are basically beating the heat by sipping on an endangered antelope. File this under crazy, but true. Some humans never cease to amaze in their stunning stupidity, perhaps making them, not the animals, the most uncommon creatures of all.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Quinacrodine Gold, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Sennelier L’aqaurelle: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

50 replies on “The Saiga Antelope

  1. I’m ashamed at people who poach, Charlie, or ‘kill for demand’, but I’ll leave that there.
    This animal looks like a cross between fantasy and reality, and the antlers have a definite devilish look to them in your painting. I’ve never heard of a Saiga Antelope before, but now that I know their story, I would love to see one in my reality.

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  2. I’ve never seen this antelope! What an interesting nose it has and to think it can inflate it further. 😜 Sad that humans are killing it for its horns. 😬 Amazing doodlewash, Charlie! 🎨👍💕


  3. Chinese Medicine…it’s been bad for animals.
    This is such a unique creature! Sending out good vibes for its survival.
    Thanks for the (as usual) wonderful rendering and all the information too! (K)

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  4. Ugh…that drives me insane, the stupidity of people and their willingness to believe in unsubstantiated “medical” claims. And it is always the animals that suffer.😦

    But your Saiga antelope is darling in that ALF way!❤

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  5. I think it is trying to be an elephant, as Curious Max says! Well, I’m glad you, and some others here in the comments, have realised that Man is the stupidest animal on Earth…even David Attenborough agrees…watch his documentaries (my hero…he’s more diplomatic, yet emphatic, in his view on the matter). An excellent doodle, Charlie!😀

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  6. Bless him, I think he’s cool – I’m seeing several creatures merged into one; that’s nature. Sadly I think the braindead homo sapien is one of the most common creatures around.

    This talk of antelopes has reminded me of the Dik-Dik… there’s one for you😉 are they uncommon though? I’ve no idea, I just enjoy the name.

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    1. Thanks so much Jacob! Yeah… braindead humans seem to be on the uptick, which makes it feel almost as though that zombie apocalypse might not be so far-fetched or actually already happened. 😉And I’d never heard of a Dik-Dik, so that’s uncommon to me! hehe… they’re so cute!! And of course the name is giggle-worthy. Particularly the one version that came up “Kirk’s Dik-Dik”… lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, well, I resisted saying I’m sure your dik-dik would be most impressive. But apparently I’ve not been able to resist saying it this time. They are so cute aren’t they! Those big eyes!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Phineas will be the one who has you grounded.😉 Well, at least it means more time to doodlewash! And, indeed, more time to see (and plant) euphemisms in writing, and basically continue doing what got you grounded in the first place.

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  7. Once again I will have to say nature never ceases to amaze me. That unfortunate nose may not be attractive but this antelope is lucky to have such a useful device. A learning experience for all of us, thank you Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a wonderful creature. He does look like a mix of so many other critters. He really is wonderful. I’m so sorry to hear of his demise, people are really stupid aren’t they? We are just so busy being narrow minded filling the world with trash instead of rejoicing and appreciating nature and all it’s wonders. Beautiful and thoughtful Doodlewash Charlie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Cathe! 😃💕Yeah… I like that this month I’ve giving the stage over to some of these less known animals. When they’re not on our radar we tend to ignore their plight. The world would be such a happy place if we learned how to live alongside nature instead of always destroying it!


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