Wildlife of the Mongolian Steppe
Dr. Richard Reading from the Denver Zoo has created a model ecosystem management program through his interest of argali, the largest mountain sheep in the world. These sheep have been listed as a near threatened species, and reside in the highlands of central Asia. With the help of Earthwatch volunteers, Dr. Reading has been able to collect data on argali along with countless other species such as Siberian ibex, vultures, kestrels, small mammals, lizards, and insects.
Dr. Reading has collaborated with local Mongolian students and scientists to track many of these species in the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, Gun Galuut Nature Reserve, and other parts of the Mongolian Steppe. With the use of radio tags he can gather data on location, reproduction, and mortality of individuals over a number of months. This data has lead to numerous conservation programs to preserve the biodiversity of this ecosystem.
The United Nations Development Programme rated the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve as the best managed reserve in Mongolia and will use it as a model for other parks in the region. This program has provided positive results with an increase in argali populations and an increase in overall biodiversity. The preservation of this unique ecosystem will create a healthy environment for plants, animals and humans.
Earthwatch Institute Website