Nineteen-year-old Rachel Partridge, animal lover and aspiring veterinary assistant, has returned from her work experience at the wild camel breeding centre and Gobi “A” . Lucy McLean has asked Rachel some follow-up questions about her trip and experiences.
1: How was your trip and what did you think of Mongolia?
My trip to Mongolia was incredible and very eye opening to the nomadic culture and living in such a harsh environment. Mongolians are very welcoming and kind; always wanting to help wherever possible. The wildlife was so varied and the landscapes beautiful it’s a wonderful country to visit.
2: What did you learn from the people at the reserve?
The people at the reserve have incredible knowledge of each and every camel they look after as well as the vast landscape they live in. In evenings they taught me Mongolian phrases and games that we played in the ger after dinner, as well as showing us the way that they prepare, cook and eat the meat which makes up most of their diet.
3: What was your favourite moment from the whole experience?
My favourite moment was probably watching and helping with the new born calves being ear tagged, we got to see them very close up and at such a young age, it’s a very rare opportunity that I’m so grateful to have been given.
4: Having seen the camels in real life, what do you think about them now?
I always knew that camels were incredibly tough, living in the desert was a big give away! But they are incredibly social creatures in their group structure and the friendships and rivalries that build up. They’re surprisingly beautiful and camouflage very well in their habitat, making them difficult but worthwhile to spot when out in the middle of the desert! I learnt more about the differences between wild and domestic Bactrian camels both in appearance as well as the genetic split, which happened over 700,000 years ago!
5: Would you ever go back to Mongolia in the future?
I would go back to Mongolia in the future definitely as I feel there is more of the country that I could experience. I would also enjoy going back to the breeding centre if the circumstances arose but you never know what the future holds!