Annual ITG Workshop

In January, the ITG once again held its annual workshop. Finally, a face-to-face meeting was possible again. A motivated team from Mongolia, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Norway, and Germany gathered at Wildnispark Zurich to share project progress and pave the way for many activities in 2023. This year we had the pleasure of having representatives from Nuremberg Zoo and Berlin Zoo/Tierpark Berlin attend our workshop to discuss closer collaboration in the future. Besides, the cooperation with our partners of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) in Mongolia is crucial and we were pleased to welcome their representatives to our workshop.

We all focus our energy and enthusiasm on one goal: the conservation of the primordial wild horse and its habitat! Protection of this unique ecosystem with all its inhabitants: flora, fauna and people.

Cashmere for Future

Cashmere from the Mongolian steppe secures the future of nomads and wild horses.

On December 2, ITG together with EDELZiEGE organized an information evening on cashmere wool and its production in the Dzungarian Gobi desert. The protected area Great Gobi B is used seasonally by about 280 herder families. The herders make their living mainly by combing their cashmere goats. The cashmere wool thus obtained is then processed into beautiful and warming fashion. But how can sustainable production succeed? How can livestock numbers be reconciled with nature conservation goals? And how can socially just and ecological production be achieved?

These are the questions being addressed by an ITG working group under the motto “Cashmere for Future”. A herder cooperative founded this fall is now making a start.

In 2023, we will start a year full of new (wool) adventures.

News on key people

The long-time director of the Great Gobi B reserve, Oyunsaikhan Ganbaatar, resigned at the end of September 2022 to take on a new challenge in conservation.

O. Ganbaatar began working for takhi reintroduction back in 1999 – then as a biology student with Prof. Ravchig Samija, who was closely associated with the project. A takhi research program was just emerging. Ganbaatar, a man of great dedication, quickly became indispensable to the project and emerged as an outstanding takhi expert, building up an enormous wealth of experience and data over the years. His excellent networking with regional and national politicians, herders, gamekeepers and the ITG, as well as his political flair, decisively advanced the reintroduction program; a highlight was the park expansion in 2019. Ganbaatar also did a lot of information work in Mongolia and at international conferences and is widely recognized. In his new commitment, Ganbaatar will assess another area for its suitability for takhi release. At the same time, he will complete his dissertation.

ITG sincerely thanks O. Ganbaatar for 23 years of invaluable service to the cause of takhi reintroduction. We wish him and his family every success in his future endeavours!

As a result of the resignation of O. Ganbaatar, the directorate of the Great Gobi B reserve is being restaffed. Ad interim N. “Aagi” Altansukh takes over this responsible task. He comes from the hamlet of Bij on the northeastern border of the reserve and holds a Bachelor in Economics and Accounting from the International Institute of Economics and Business; a Bachelor as an Environmental Protection Ecologist from the Institute of Environmental Management; and a Master in Biology from Khovd University. He has been working since 2007 as a specialist, later senior specialist, for the reserve. He is therefore very familiar with the local conditions and stakeholders.

We congratulate N. Altansukh on his new position and look forward to a productive collaboration with him.

Carrying on the legacy

The takhi escaped extinction by a hair’s breadth. Now the reintroduced residual herds must be protected from key threats.

Achieving this is our primary goal.

However, it is crucial for success that the people in the vicinity of the Great Gobi B reserve support it.

With various activities for the 30th anniversary of the takhi reintroduction,

we want to create benefits for the families around the reserve.

Find out more in our newest Takhi Post.

„Christmas Fundraising“

Cashmere scarves and hats not only look stunning but also warm you in the cold winter. Give yourself or your loved ones an exclusive natural product for Christmas.

100% of the profit goes to the project “Sustainable Cashmere from the Mongolian Steppe” of the International Takhi Group.

This involves helping herders manage their pastures, promoting social justice, and enabling a decent economic income for local herders.

The herders share the idea and goals of the protected area and thus protect the Great Gobi B ecosystem, as well as the primordial wild horses.

Order your product at info@savethewildhorse.org, specifying the type of product, quantity, and color you want, as well as your shipping and billing address.

Orders are possible until November 07.

We wish you much joy with your cashmere product directly from the Mongolian steppe. You contribute to nature conservation and the protection of a unique nomadic culture.

Designed by EDELZiEGE

Herder cooperative in the Great Gobi B

In the Great Gobi B SPA wildlife and nomadic herders co-exist and share resources. To protect the pastures for wildlife and livestock, we encourage sustainable practices for pasture management. The management of the Great Gobi B SPA and ITG are now cooperating with the Sustainable Cashmere Union to support herders with their pasture management, promote social equity and a decent economic income for herders who live in and around the protected area.

Last week, the first meetings with herders of Bij and Perm bag, of Bugat Soum, Govi-Altai have taken place. The herders fully supported the idea of forming a local cooperative with the support of SCU, ITG and Great Gobi B SPA and put this intention directly into practice.

Congratulations to the cooperative leader, the board, the control committee and all members.

Let’s protect together the ecosystem of the Great Gobi B SPA – the basis of life and living space for people and animals in this area.

„We are friends of the mother earth, we are future rangers”

Under this motto, another field trip within the “Young Researcher 2022” program was organized in the Great Gobi B SPA. A total of 30 pupils from protected area buffer zone elementary schools visited the Great Gobi B SPA administration in Takhiin Tal together with their teachers. Our “young researchers” learned about the current weather and explored how to use ranger equipment like compasses and identified spoor pictures of different animals.

It was an exciting day for the children and their teachers in the Great Gobi B SPA.

Gobi Steppe Ungulate Count 2022

Last week, a highly motivated team counted wildlife in the Dzungarian Gobi Desert, with a special focus on steppe ungulates (gazelles, wild asses, and wild horses).

Wildlife counters included Great Gobi B SPA rangers, scientists from the National University of Mongolia, and an international science team from Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences and ITG. A total of 34 counters spent 7 days in the Gobi and applied a distance sampling approach. For this, the counters were released on hills in the Gobi and spent 24 hours alone. Meanwhile, they counted wildlife 6 times up to a distance of 4 km in all cardinal directions.

Spending the days and nights all alone in the Gobi was exciting and special for all participants.

The counters were supported by a well-organized kitchen team, which provided the food.

The rangers were provided with binoculars by Prague Zoo and received watches from the company Fossil, which were kindly engraved by jeweler Schwarcz. ITG financed the steppe ungulate count and the ITG Mongolia team organized the whole project with the help of the protected area management. The project was scientifically accompanied by several scientists from the Inland University in Norway under the leadership of Petra Kaczensky.

Now the data are being evaluated and soon the population sizes of the steppe ungulates can be estimated.

Many thanks to all who supported this exciting project!

30th anniversary of the reintroduction of wild horses

Last weekend, the reintroduction of wild horses in Mongolia was celebrated. The formerly extinct Przewalski’s horses were reintroduced successfully to their homeland 30 years ago. Almost 1’000 wild horses are living again in Mongolia: 423 in the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area, 433 in the Hustain National Park, and 138 in the Khomyn tal National Park. We would like to express our gratitude to all senior workers who dedicated their youth, the representatives of the employees working today, and international organizations and projects that cooperate for the reintroduction of the takhi.