I visited Mongolia and China for three weeks in October 2012. I travelled to the Hunter Hall Wild Camel Breeding Centre in Mongolia and found the captive wild camels to be in excellent condition. The whole area had been cleaned of droppings, the fence had been repaired, a new building for accommodation and meetings had been well constructed and the whole area looked to be under sound management. This is a tribute to Mijjidorj, the former director of Gobi Specially Protected Area “A” which is adjacent to the Centre and his successor Gotov. The new management structure is clearly a vast improvement on the old.
In China I had discussions with WCPF Trustee, Yuan Lei and the staff at the Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve about the wild camel educational programme, which they fully support. We are now waiting their costings for the educational materials in Chinese, Kazakh, Mongolian and Uighur. Unfortunately, we were not successful in our application to Prince Albert’s Fund for additional funding for our education programme for adults and children living in proximity to the wild camel reserves in China and Mongolia. We do have $10,000 from the Mohammed bin Zayed Trust and I have written with the Chinese National Nature Reserve management staff material for four DVD’s and booklets which the Reserve Head office in China is now costing to print and produce locally. The more funding we obtain, the greater the impact will be in both China and Mongolia. Given these countries are now doing well economically we are keen to encourage locals stewardship and support for the wild camels through in-country education remembering that is also very important as development, especially mining, is rampant in both countries and has a negative impact on the wild camel habitat.
In Beijing I met the Professor Liu, the Chinese Director of the Remote Sensing Unit of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who has offered to collar and fund the wild camel release programme in Mongolia. He has already collared and successfully released nine camels in the Chinese Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve and his generous proposal is fully in accord with the Letter of Intent, signed by both Chinese and Mongolian environment vice Ministers in 2000 at a workshop in Beijing organised by the WCPF. I put the proposal to the Mongolian Ministry of Nature and we are waiting to hear their decision. Gotov is following up on this.
Founder, Wild Camel Protection Foundation