We’ve just received news from Bayara, our project leader and conservation partner in Monoglia, who’s working on protecting endangered snow leopards. In a recent visit she stayed with Ekra, a ranger of Turgen Mountain Strictly Protected Area, and his wife. Whilst she was there they had an extraordinary encounter. Bayara describes her stay:
“I’ve just travelled from Ulaanbaatar to the Yamaat Valley in western Mongolia. The temperatures plunged as I moved west, from -15 in the capital, to -24 degrees in Yamaat. It is a real winter here. We visited the ranger Erka, and his wife who is a local Snow Leopard Enterprise (SLE) coordinator. She and her friends make unique handicrafts, such as rugs and toys, that are sold internationally to help boost the local communities’ income.
We stayed for four days in Erka’s yurt; they’re one of 20 households spending the winter in the valley. On the first day of our visit, we had walked to a nearby tree that the locals call the ‘snow leopard dating tree’ to see if there were signs of any activity. Excitingly we found lots of new scratches on the tree and two snow leopards’ pug marks – or paw prints!
Erka was keen to set his camera trap up immediately but we all doubted he’d capture images of snow leopards within a such short time. The second night of our stay was a pretty active night; we could hear the family’s dogs barking and 3km away another family’s dogs were responding. The next morning at breakfast we wondered whether all the barking had been because a snow leopard or wolf had visited the valley. We were just about to leave when Erka decided to check his camera trap. We were amazed at what he brought back…”
Learn more about Bayara’s project in the Tost reserve here: