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Wildlife & Ecosystems

Wildlife of the Mongolian Steppe

What can we learn about the behavior, habits, and needs of wildlife of the Mongolian steppe?


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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

This magnificent region of semiarid grasslands and rocky outcrops is one of the best hopes for wildlife in central Asia.

Careful stewardship is required to protect and conserve habitats and the many mammals, birds, and reptiles that depend upon them.

Mongolia hosts a rich diversity of wildlife, especially compared with other Central Asian nations. Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, with 666 square kilometers (257 square miles) of grassland and arid steppe habitats, provides a protected home for many of its species. But even within the bounds of the reserve, the animals of Ikh Nart face threats from poaching, illegal mining, and overgrazing. Local counties manage protected areas for the Mongolian federal government, but they lack the resources to provide active stewardship.

Bird of Prey, Mongolia

Few people get the opportunity to view Mongolia’s wildlife, because many species remain very shy and inhabit inaccessible areas.

This magnificent region of semiarid grasslands and rocky outcrops is one of the best hopes for wildlife in central Asia. Argali sheep, lesser kestrels, cinereous vultures, and other animals threatened throughout their range find a stronghold here. Herds of graceful Mongolian gazelles and goitered gazelles roam freely through the reserve. For the past several years, Earthwatch teams have worked to study and conserve the area's wildlife, including the "near-threatened" argali—the largest mountain sheep in the world, with huge, curling horns. Their efforts have been so successful that results from the work have been used to develop improved conservation management policies in the reserve, and the research team has expanded their studies to include several other species.

About the research area

Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, Dornogobi Aimag, Mongolia, Asia

Daily life in the field

Itinerary

This is a summary:

The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Ganchimeg (Gana)
Wingard
Denver Zoo Mongolia Program Director

ABOUT Ganchimeg (Gana) Wingard

Gana Wingard holds master’s degrees in both environmental science and wildlife ecology, and has studied argali and domestic livestock feeding relationships at Ikh Nart. Gana's a Mongolian national with experience leading ecotours, and a resident of Denver, Colorado.

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Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food

Reviews

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