Mongolian wild horse

October 9, 2010
Mongolian wild horse
Hustain Mountain Range, some 100 km eastward from the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, has become a place of keen interest of many zoologists from all over the world.
This is an area where a unique experiment on the reintroduction of wild horse is taking place. Known as Przhewalski Horse, they once roamed in thousands over the vast open steppe stretches of the Central Asia, but were extinguished by early 20th century. Nowadays only about 1,200 animals remain in zoo.
In 1992, the Denmark Fund for Wild Horse Preservation with the support of the Danish Government, brought to Mongolia first 15 horses. It took almost two years for them to adjust to harsh winters and local pastures. Since then, altogether 68 more horses were brought from abroad.
During last few years, more than 47 colts were born and now the horse herd exceeds 100 horses. The project leader, Mr. Jan Vetger, hopes that in few years as many as 400 wild horses will graze in the Hustai Mountain range area, the sufficient number to release them back into wilderness. Christian Osvald Fund from Germany also actively participates in the project helping to raise funds to buy horses from zoo and transport them to Mongolia.
In 1996, five stallions and 13 mares from zoos in Germany, Checz, Switzerland were taken to their native land, an area called Wild Horse steppe in Bugat county of Gobi Altai province. The herd already has ten new colts and three more are coming.
Europeans first learned about the Takhi or Wild Horse existence after the expedition by Russian scholar Nikolai Przhewalski in 1898. While in zoos of USA, Europe and Russia this specie that may be the ancestor of domesticated horse was closely studied, back in Mongolia they were excessively hunted pushing them into remote wild areas. In 1968, the last herd of wild horses was seen in the Gobi Desert.
Since then, the wild horses become endangered specie with only few animals remaining in zoos. All 1200 horses are the siblings of three stallions and seven mares that survived WW II. Only now, thanks to efforts of scholars from 25 countries, these horses now have a real chance for survival and return to the nature.

Tugi Gantulga Sh. Freelance writer


Save Mazaalai

October 9, 2010

Save Mazaalai ( Mongolian Gobi Bear )

“If you don’t act now, Mazaalai Bear will go extinct!” under this slogan the Fund for Protection and Study of this unique bear was set up last spring.
According to the experts from the Ministry of Environment Protection, there are only about 30 Mazaalai or Gobi Desert bears remain on the Earth.
But Dr. D. Bataar who climbed all over mountain ranges in Gobi Altai province last year, the natural habitat of this rare bears, estimates the real number is less than 20.

A prediction made by Dr. J. Steinberg, an American biologist in 1998 that the specie will dissappear within 10 to 15 years may come true just in few years.
Mazaalai, as this bear is called by Mongols, lives in most remote parts of the Gobi Desert, wandering near oases and mountain ranges with water sources where they can survive through harsh and extreme desert climate.
Unlike his brethren in more forested areas, Mazaalai survives mostly by eating leaves, berries, grass roots and, if lucky, catching an occasional lizard or mice. Restricted ration of the deserts forces it not to bypass even insects like grass hoppers or beetles.
The harsh terrain and extreme condition make Desert bear rather a small in size. A female bear caught last year was only 168 cm long, 92 cm high and weighting about 110 kg.
Female bears make winter hibernation place in rock caves or amidst deep bushes. Hibernation period lasts from November to May. In early spring or March she bear delivers 1-2 cubs. The data on Mazaalai Bear is very scarce and not much is known about it.
Back in 1996 it took almost two months for a photographer commissioned by National Geographic Society to take picture of one. Even now it is not clear whether it represents a separate specie like Chinese Panda Bear or belong to a forest type.
The conclusion of two Russian explorers, Sokolov and Orlov, made many years ago that it belongs to a separate breed, were questioned by Dr. McCarther in his 1996 study based on DNA analysis of the bear hairs.
But irrespective of scientific arguments the very existence of this unique desert bear registered in the World Red Book is under question
The fragile eco-system of the Gobi desert is being threatened by the advance of the human activities that intensifies the process of desertification and shrinks the traditional natural habitat of the specie. Drying lakes, the shortage of water sources diminishes the habitat for the already hard pressed animals

If this trend will continue, the specie simply can not survive without a special effort. Therefore, the Fund for Protection and Study of Mazaalai Bear appeals to all people of the world, who cherish the Mother Nature, to help to save them.

Ganzo Shura


Mongolian Geographic Society

October 7, 2010

Mongolian Geographic Society


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October 7, 2010

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