5 April 2017

Conservation And Research Expedition - Gobi Desert 2017

Experience Mongolia differently on our 2017 conservation and research trip - in collaboration with the Mongolian Association Goviin Khulan NGO.

Supporting local is at the heart of what we do and at the centre of each experience we offer. Working in this way means we have have personally come into contact with some remarkable Mongolian people working at a grass roots level in conservation and wildlife protection. We have spent time experiencing their way of life as they show us the more hidden side to their home and the challenges they face. These people are the motivation behind our conservation trips. 

Since 2008 the Association Goviin Khulan has worked in the eastern part of Mongolia's Gobi Desert to enhance the protection of the Mongolian Khulan (Mongolia's wild ass) and its habitat in partnership with local protected areas' staff and communities.

Why Khulan?

Khulan as seen by our 2015 guests

The Mongolian Khulan (Equus hemionus hemionus) is one of the 5 recognized sub-species of the Asiatic Wild Ass and represents the largest population of this species in the world. As a result, Mongolia is an important place for the conservation of this species. 

The Mongolian Khulan is legally protected and listed as Rare in the Mongolian Red Book and Endangered in the ICUN Red List of Threatened Species. 

Threats to the species include loss of habitat as a result of human settlement, and due to resource extraction such as mining. There is also degradation of their natural grazing land and competition for water sources. There is also fragmentation of the natural habitat and restriction of the Khulan's movements due to the Trans-Mongolian railway, and due to roads and fences associated with mining development. 

Conservation and Research Expedition - 2017

Travel with Anne Marie Souri - an ethnologist and founder and lead researcher of Association Goviin Khulan. A member of the SSC/IUCN Equid Specialist Group, Anne Camille has been studying the Khulan since 2004. 

You will gain an understanding of the ecology of the little visited Dorngobi (east Gobi) region. Also, Goviin Khulan practice people-centred conservation and you will meet the local people such as Buddhist monks, small market gardeners and  nomadic herders who are are partners in conservation. 

You will be trained to use several kinds of technology  such as trail cameras and all  data collected during this conservation expedition will be used as part of the conservation program  - continuing to protect the endangered Mongolian Khulan/Mongolian Wild Ass and its habitat. 

The Itinerary

Day One - June 17th - Ulaanbaatar

Our free (informal and relaxed) city walking tour will introduce you to life in Mongolia's capital city.  -Our walking tour provides a way of getting in touch with the atmosphere and character of the city and with the local community. This day is not about museums or shopping – it’s about getting out and about and exploring and discovering. Over 45% of Mongolia’s population make their home in Ulaanbaatar and and spending time within the city will give you a contrasting insight into their way of life, compared to that of the rural population.

Day Two - June 18th - Khustain Nuruu National Park

Takhi at Khustain. Image by our guest Marie Anne Fell. Takhi’s stay in harem groups with a strict hierarchy, dependent on the age and relationship of the individual horses. In scientific terms, the Takhi is a distinct species due to its 66-chromosome count; all other horses have 64 chromosomes.
Drive through the middle step to Khustai Nuruu National Park - noted for its successful reintroduction of the endemic Przewalski horse– the only wild horse to survive in modern times and known as Takhi in Mongolian. Khustain is one of Mongolia’s conservation success stories and this day will provide you with a better understanding of the biodiversity of Khustain - its people, landscapes and the distribution density and composition of wildlife in the area. 

Day Three - June 19th - Khamariin Khiid

Travel through to Mongolia’s eastern Gobi. You’ll travel through steppe to desert terrain and will start to get an understanding of the diversity of Mongolia’s natural habitats. You'll observe wildlife native to the Gobi - especially herds of White Tailed Gazelle. 

Day Four - June 20th - Queen's Spring - Research and Conservation Area

Queen’s Spring is located roughly about 150 kms from the border with China. This is the start of five-days spent in the Goviin Khulan research area. Examples of the activities that could be conducted in the research area are:
  • Observation of wildlife species including recording GPS positions for each species observed
  • Recording of the presence of each species observed including animal tracks, dung and scats.
  • Settlement of camera traps at strategic locations
  • Sampling of plants in specific areas
  • Record of carcasses found,
  • Meeting with rangers and families involved in the project
  • Cleaning of specific sites 
Day Five - June 21st - Golden Mountain - Research and Conservation Area

Officially known as Ergeliin Zuu, this is a protected natural reserve where dinosaur fossils were discovered in the 1920’s by Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic Expeditions. Part of the day will be spend meeting a local family who work as ‘citizen conservationists for Association Goviin Khulan. 

Day Six to Eight - June 22nd to 24th - Native Mountain - Research and Conservation Area

‘Native Mountain’ is home to a Buddhist monastery - Ulgii Khiid - and here will meet with the community of monks and have the opportunity to discuss with them about their involvement in the Association Goviin Khulan conservation program and their actions and motivations towards the protection of the Gobi ecosystem.

Time will be spent exploring the region specifically focusing on the observation of wildlife to collect data for AGK. During your time here you will meet community members such as Gansukh and Otgon and families who are now involved in the khulan project as Citizen Conservationists. 

Day Nine - June 25th - Sainshand
Day Ten -  June 26th - UB

If you're looking for something that little bit different in your trip to Mongolia then get in touch. Discover more on our Mongolia Conservation tours website page. 


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