Here is a picture of some tyre tracks in the Gobi Desert taken by John Hare on his latest visit to the breeding centre in Mongolia. Now this picture may look exciting, but what if I told you that these tyre tracks are very bad news for the Wild Camel?
The Wild Camel is a ‘Migratory Species’ this means that they travel from place to place through the year to find water and fresh vegetation. But what makes this amazing is that they follow exactly the same routes every time! They have been doing this for hundreds of years and the young camels know where to go on their first migration. Their centiuries old migration routes leave a deep furrow in the sand. The problem with this is that tyre tracks in the desert can cover these routes and when the camels see them they get confused and turn back the way they have come.
Now you might ask, why is this a problem? Doesn’t the desert sand just cover the tracks? The answer is, no, they don’t. Tyre tracks can last over for 25 years! So vehicles driving over the desert can cause a huge problem for the Wild Camel and disrupt their migration routes..
Remember, when you visit the Gobi Desert, don’t explore it by four-wheel-drive, ride a camel!
- The camels are a bit like the nomadic Mongolian people. A nomad is a person who wanders from place to place in search of new pasture. The Mongolian nomads move around with big, circular tents called gers. They are like the Wild Camel because they don’t stay in one area, they migrate from place to place to find fresh grazing for their livestock.
- Migrating camels always travel one-behind-the-other in a line. We don’t know why they do this – but they do!
- A group of domestic camels travelling with loads or riders is called a caravan.