From the International Takhi-Group
In Memoriam Lkhagvasuren Badamjav (1959-2019)
On August 1st 2019 Lkhagvasuren Badamjav, an internationally
well-respected Mongolian scientist and expert on biodiversity
conservation passed away after suffering from a severe disease. Lkhagva
was associate professor and leading scientist at the institute of
general and experimental biology of the Mongolian academy of science.
He also served the Scientific Council of the convention of migratory species (CMS) where he pointed out the issue of infrastructure and fences on mammal migration. After years of negotiations with the railroad company and other stakeholders he recently reached his goal to have removed fences at selected sections of the Trans-Mongolian-Railway, thus helping migratory like the khulan or the Przewalski’s horse to roam more freely in Central Asia.
Lkhagva also took part in scientific discussions of the International Takhi Group (ITG). In 2017 he participated a workshop in Switzerland, where he helped to put up the scientific program for the next few years. ITG offers its sympathies to his family and will remember him and his important work for wildlife conservation.
Big steps for two young takhi
In July 2019 two quite young takhi started to explore the region in the east of the Great Gobi B SPA and are steadily moving towards the Great Gobi A region. They were drinking water from different water points along the route and even crossed a paved road to graze from new pastures. Both of them are in good condition.
This is the first time in 27 years of takhi-reintroduction, that the rangers could observe and follow some Takhi which are moving longer distances into an area unknown to them. It shows, that they may adapt to roaming longer distances like their ancestors did, when the pastures and conditions are good.
It is a further step towards a full adaptation of the takhi to their former behavior, before they became extinct in the wild in the 1960ies.
Steady Electricity and Water for the Administration of the Great Gobi B SPA
In the course of the renovation of the administration center of the Great Gobi B SPA, Erchim Electric LLC started to implement a 10 kW solar system in July. The newly installed solar system is able to give enough power to pump the water from the well, which had been drilled in 2016.
Furthermore it provides constant electricity to the house and the gers of two members of the staff living nearby. This is the first step of the renovation which will be followed others in due time.
New takhi from Europe to Takhin tal
Prague zoo together with the Czech Army brought again three mares to Takhin tal, where they were successfully released into the acclimatization enclosure, where they will stay until spring 2020 in order to adapt to the new climate and food. The takhi were selected by the European Endangered Species programme (EEP) in order to broaden the genetic variety. They came from Prague Zoo, from Dobrejow and from the Wisentgehege Springe.
During the small ceremony held after the successful transport, Zoo Prague handed over a new car and six motorbikes to the staff of the Great Gobi B SPA for their work in the national park and in order to observe the takhi.
Both activities are based on the joint support programme of GGB under the auspices of ITG.
The Mongolian Parliament agreed on the Enlargement of the Great Gobi B SPA
Years of work have paid off – both for the Great Gobi B Special Protected Area (SPA) and for the International Takhi Group (ITG). On May 2nd, th Mongolian Parliament agreed to double the protected area from 9'000 km2 to approx. 18'000 km2. This is a crucial improvement for the habitat of the Przewalski’s horse an other migrating animals.
This decision was made along with the decision to enlarge (or establish) 21 more protected areas. Thus Mongolia has made an important step in nature- and habitat conservation.
Thanks to everybody who contributed to this success!
First Foal in the Gobi B
On April 8th, the first Takhi-foal of 2019 was born, despite of heavy snowfall. Its mother Odod of the Mazaalai-Harem happened also to be the first foal, which was born in early 2015.
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Strategic Workshop of the ITG in Switzerland
In January 2019 ITG held a workshop at Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg. The most important issues which were discusses at that weekend, included the Management Plan of the Great Gobi B SPA and its implementation in the near future as well as the stragetic collaboration with different organisations within Mongolia.
Furthermore Petra Kaczensky of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) presented the latest updates of research and led the discussion about research priorities and new projects.
Participants of the workshop were:
Members of the ITG
from Switzerland and the Czech Republic
: Director of SPA at the Ministry of „Environment and Tourism“ (MET)
: Specialist at the Ministry of „Environment and Tourism“ (MET)
: Director of the Gobi B SPA which includes the reintroduction of the Przewalski’s horses
: Coordination of “Friends of the Takhi Mongolia”
: Mongolian Ambassador in Switzerland
First snow in the Gobi B SPA
Wind from the south at Takhin tal always indicates upcoming snowfall - as it also happened this year: Since October 18th, a layer of snow is covering the Gobi B.
235 Takhi have started into the winter season, 41 of which are foals, born since April 2018. Rangers counted 19 harem or bachelor groups in the region which again gathered into larger groups for a short time in fall.
There have been some changes of stallions in the harems; especially Goyhalium stallion seems to have been quite successful recently. He leads a group of 26 Takhi right now.
Enlargement proposal of the Gobi B passes next step
On September 4th, the Mongolian government approved the proposal of the enlargement of Great Gobi B SPA together with 21 other parks. The project proposal will be discussed in parliament in October 2018.
If the parliament approves, the total protected area in Mongolia will be
increased by 3'200 hectares, 2.1 % respectively (Foto: proposed
enlargement area of the Gobi B).
Many thanks to everybody who worked on this project and supported the proposal until today. Networking now continues, in order to achieve the approvement of the proposal in parliament.
Four more Takhis transported from European zoos at Takhintal
For the eighth time Prague Zoo
and the Czech army aircraft successfully transported four Przewalski's horses to Takhin tal in the Gobi B SPA. The mares will stay in an aclimatization enclosure for one year before being released into the wild.
The Przewalski's horses had been selected on the basis of the European Endangered Species Program (EEP). Two Takhi origin from Helsinki Zoo, one from Wildnispark Zürich Langenberg and one from Wisentgehege Springe in Germany.
German Ambassador visits Takhin tal
In May, German Abassador in Mongolia, Stefan Duppel Hermann, visited Takhin tal with his family. The group enjoyed watching the free roaming Takhi in the Gobi B while listening to the information of the director of the National park Ganbaatar.
Furthermore he adopted a foal, born in 2018, and showed interest to help organizing an information meeting in Ulaanbaatar in 2019.
Uniqueness of the Przewalski’s horse remains unchanged
The well-respected "Science"-Journal recently published a study
in which an international research team examined the genome of 42 horse fossils covering a time period of 5500 years and a large area of Eurasia.
Using state-of-the-art molecular and statistical analysis, the researchers developed relationships and theories about the evolution of our domestic horses. They found out that none of today's Eurasian domestic horses are related to the fossil horses of the Botai culture, Kazakhstan, previously considered as the center of domestication. The origin of the domestic horses thus remains unclear.
Another conclusion the scientists drew from their genome studies is, that today's Przewalski’s horses are descendants of these so-called Botai horses. Since Botai horses were herded and thus domesticated to a certain extent at that time (enolithic culture, 5000 years b.c.), the authors conclude that the Przewalski’s horses are not the last living wild horses but would be feral domestic horses.
From the point of view of ITG
, this conclusion seems exaggerated due to
the very uncertain degree of domestication of the Botai horses and the
neglected alternative scenarios. The article is challenged by several scientists and scientists of the ITG have stated their interpretation in an e-letter
In spite of all findings and discussions the uniqueness
of the Przewalski’s horse line, unrelated to any other living horse on
Earth, remains unchanged.
The first foals in 2018
Spring has arrived in the Gobi B and temperature is raising. There was not much snow during wintertime, which leaves the steppe rather dry - rain would be very welcome in the near future.
By the end of April the first foals are already exploring the western Gobi B; according to the rangers, who survey the Takhi very closely, there will be many more foals this summer.
Further steps to freedom
On April 16th the Takhi which had been transported to Mongolia in 2017, were released into the vast area of the Great Gobi B SPA. Together with a stallion and two young mares they started to explore the area around Takhin tal.
The excitement about the new situation soon calmed down and after only one hour already, the rangers could watch the group grazing silently approximately 4 km from Takhin tal.
The Takhi had previously been kept in an enclosure for one year to make sure that they adapt well to the new climate and nutrition. Furthermore rangers will monitor the group closely for the next weeks.
Bonn Convention: Stronger Protection of the Przewalski's Horse
The Twelfth Session of the Conference of the "Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species" (CMS
) took place in Manila from October 23-28, 2017. The main theme was “Their Future is our Future - Sustainable Development for Wildlife & People”.
The proposal of the Mongolian Government (supported by Switzerland) to list the Takhi in Appendix 1 of the CMS
has been adopted by the Conference of the Parties COP12 in Manila. This means that the Takhi will benefit from an additional international protection in the future, which will help its reintroduction even beyond country boundaries.
Takhi-Photoexhibition in Altai and Khovd
The pictures covering 25 years of Takhi reintroduction habe been moved from Ulaanbatar in spring on the occasion of the 25 year to the museums of Altai and Khovd in October.
Visitors had the possibilities to see beautiful pictures and at the same time get first hand information about the Takhis and the Gobi B from rangers who are working at Takhintal.
25 years celebration in Ulaanbaatar
On September 30th th ITG celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Takhi reintroduction at Ulaanbaatar with friends, sponsors and interested persons. The diner and music acts were followed by an auction, the revenue of which goes into the sanitary installations at Takhintal.
Reinhard Schnidrig, president of the ITG reviewed and reflected the
performances of the last 25 years and pointed out the challenges for the
GG6-Meeting – Conservation of the ecosystem of the Gobi B
For the second time representatives of science, NGOs and politics met at Bayantorooi to discuss strategies of conservation for the Gobi B and its charismatic species like the wild Bactrian camel, the Khulan, the Saiga antelope, the goitered gazelle, the Gobi-bear and the Przewalski’s horse.
Mongolian and European representatives of ITG took the chance to contribute their experience in the Gobi B and the Takhi reintroduction to the discussions.
Find a summary of the meeting in the list of activities and achievements since September 2016
and in the declaration of Bayantorooi
Mongolian Research Assistant at Takhintal
In June Dalaitseren Sukhbaatar started his job as a research assistant at Takhintal. He currently gets introduced into the daily work of the research station and will in future be coordinating the research projects together with Ounsaikhan Ganbaatar, director of the Gobi B SPA and with Petra Kaczensky, research coordinater for the ITG.
Dalaitseren is the son of the former director of the Gobi B SPA Sukhbaatar. He grew up at Takhintal and will finish his studies of biology in in the next few months.
Khulan – Reintroduction in Central Kazachstan
A Norwegian research group has initiated the reintroduction of the Khulan in the Torgai steppe in central Kazachstan. The Khulan has been extinct in the wild in Kazachstan since the 1930ties and has been reintroduced to isolated regions in the South of country.
The goal of KULANSTEP
in the Torgai steppe is, to double the range of Khulans in central Asia and to significantly increase the worldwide population. At the same time it might be an important step towards paving the way for restoring the steppe fauna of this region which in the future could include the Saiga antelope and the Przewalski’s horse.
Over 200 Takhis roaming the Gobi B!
For the first time since the beginning of reintroduction, more than 200 Takhis are roaming the steppe of the Gobi B.
In this time the population has developped successfully and has started to explore new areas. But it also had to survive two hard winters in which Dzud took the life of many animals.
The warmest thanks to all pioneers and today's protagonists but also to the rangers of the Gobi B SPA who worked and still work hard for this successful of reintroduction. They all made this story possible.
New Takhis from Europe have arrived at Takhintal
At the end of June 4 mares have been brought to the ITG-Takhi reintroduction site by Zoo Prague and the Czech Army. As in the previous years the transport has gone very smoothly and the horses are already getting used to their new "world". They will stay in the acclimatization fence for one year before they can roam the steppe as a harem in 2018.
First foal in 2017 in the Gobi B
On April 19th the first Takhi foal of 2017 was born near Takhintal. Rangers expect 30-40 more until fall.
Photoexhibition about 25 years of Takhi-reintroduction
The Blue Moon Gallerie in Ulaanbaatar is hosting a spectacular photoexhibition, showing 25 years of Takhi reintroduction in the Gobi B. Come and see the pictures of Takhis, the plants and animals of the Gobi B and its magnificient landscape.
The presentation was opened by Gabriella Spirli of Swiss Development Agency (SDC) on April 15th and will last until April 20th.
Takhi-Post - be informed!
25 years of Takhi-reintroduction in the Dzungarian Gobi - what has been achieved? What are the challenges in the future? What is the work of the rangers in the Gobi B - Read the interview with Nisehhuu who tries to think like a Takhi in order to find them in the vast area of the Nationalpark.
Read the Takhi-Post
and be informed about the latest developments in the International Takhi-Group. Become member of the ITG
, in order to protect the Gobi B and the future of the Przewalski's horses.
Innermongolian collaboration in favor of the Przewalski's horse
The close collaboration of the Hustai Nuuru and Takhintal reintroduction projects resulted in a transport of four Takhis ot Takhintal and further to Takhin us on July 22nd. This was made possible by the help of Prague zoo and the Czech Army which porvided their airplane and their knowledge to successfully organise this transport.
Four mares from Europe for the Takhi population in the Gobi B
On July 18th four mares coming from alle over Europe have been brought to Takhintal thanks to the cooperation of Prague Zoo (member of the ITG) and the Czech Army. They had been flown from Prague to Bulgan and then brought by trucks to Takhintal, where they were released to the acclimatization enclosure shortly after midnight.
The new Takhis had been selected on a genetical basis, in order to bring
more variability of genetics into the Takhintal population. They will
remain in the acclimatization enclosure for one year. Thus they can
adapt to the mongolian climate and can be observed closely by the
rangers of the Gobi B.
English lessons fpr the rangers in the Gobi B national park
During one month the rangers at Takhintal had the chance to intensely learn english. This was made possible on a voluntary basis by a retired teacher from Switzerland. Uli Rutz took also the chance to give some lessons at the school of Bugat during 3 days. Thus on the other hand he had the chance to get to know the daily live of the nomads and the rangers and had the chance to accompany the rangers to the wildlife of the Gobi B. You will find his short report here
In commemoration of B. Chinbat
On May 2nd former ranger B. Chinbat died after a severe illness. The rangers of the Gobi B National Park and the ITG grieve for warmhearted and very active ranger who shared his experience willingly with his younger colleagues and was also politically active for the Takhis in the Gobi B.
ITG expresses its sencere condolences to the family of B. Chinbat.
New fences for the acclimatization enclosure
Floods in springtime of 2015 had caused broken poles and wires at the acclimatization enclosure at Takhintal. Therefore the rangers had a load of work when the weather started to be more convenient in spring 2016. They not only redesigned and rebuilt the enclosure at Takhintal but also enlarged the one at Takhin us which will be used for new Takhis in the western part of the Gobi B National Park.
Takhi back home!
ITG Mongolia had supported to establish takhi information corners in the museums of the two Aimag centers Gobi Altai and Khovd. The exhibition "Takhi back home" shows the history of the Takhis and their reinintroduction to the Great Gobi B SPA.
During his visit to Mongolia in September 2015 Reinhard Schnidrig, president of the ITG had the pleasure to officially open the photo-exhibition together with the Governor of Khovd Mr.Tseveenravdan.
Reinhard Schnidrig is the new president of the ITG
ITG has elected Reinhard Schnidrig as new president of the ITG, he is active in the CMS (Convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals), thus emphasizing international networking on nature protection in the Gobi B.
Thomas Pfisterer has retired as president of the ITG. During the years of his presidency he has introduced "democracy for nature protection" on the agenda and has promoted this idea with much meticulousness, energy and commitment. This led to a paradigm shift in the Gobi B region of Mongolia on a political level of nature conservation. For this achievement and his immense work, ITG has awarded him the honorary presidency.
Honorary Doctorates for Dorothee Stamm and Thomas Pfisterer
At the annual Dies Academicus (April 25th, 2015) two members of the Intenational Takhi-Group were awarded Honorary Doctorates of the Vetsuisse faculty of the University of Zurich for their contribution to the conservation of the Przewalski's horse.
Dorothee Stamm, honorary member of the ITG, was awarded honorary doctor for her manifold contributions to the conservation of the Przewalski's horse and to the reintroduction of the Takhi in the Gobi B.
Thomas Pfisterer is the current president of the ITG. He has intensified the political dimension of Takhi conservation and ttheir reintroduction into Mongolia and has built up important contacts and contracts on regional and national levels. These efforts were awarded with the honorary doctorate.
Photo-exhibition in Tokyo
In march Prof. Sanekato Takeshi has organised a photo-exhibiton and talks in Tokyo. The japanese audience had the chance to get to know more about the Takhi, its history and reintroduction as well as the nomadic life and fauna in Mongolia.
Great Honor for ITG-board member Miroslav Bobek
In september 2014 Miroslav Bobek received the "Medal of Friendship" from the Mongolian president. This is a great honor for him and as he says also for the ITG for all the work done for the Takhi-reintroduction.
Learning about the Takhis
Again several young students from schools of the region had the possibility to participate in a fieldtrip to Takhintal. They learned about the ecology of the Gobi B SPA and especially about the Przewalski's horses. Lots of fieldnames in the Gobi B have the word "Takhi" in it and therefore it is important for the children to know about the history of the Takhi extinction and reintroduction in their region.
Takhi's Friends Mongolia
Takhis are getting support from Ulaanbaatar - Alfred Näf and Joachim Göttel founded the Takhi's Friends Mongolia.
Their goal is to raise money, to support projects at Takhintal and to inform people in the city about the Takhi and its importance for the mongolian ecology. Takhi's Friends Mongolia is working in a tight collaboration with "Freunde des Wildpferdes" in Switzerland.
Contacts with Jimsar breeding station in China
In the last weeks of May the contacts with the breeding center of Jimsar near the Mongolian boarder in China has been intensified and two representatives of the Takhintal reintrodutions site have visited the center. It is planned to have more transports of mares in the future similar to the one which was carried out in 2012.
New Takhi-Exhibition at Gobi Altai Nature Museum
In the nature museum of the Altai museum the wildlife and takhi-room have been renovated thanks to a donation of Chur Nature Museum (Switzerland). The new exhibition was officially opened in presence of the the deputy governor and the head of the Nature Environment department of Gobi Altay.
Solar driven well in the Great Gobi B SPA
Water sources are very important for the wildlife in the Great Gobi B. In February 2014 a new solar driven well was built near Huduu serten. The well is equipped with a camera trap which will keep record of the wildlife visiting the new well. The new well has been financed by the Mongolian government.
The well has been very well accepted by the wildlife during the year. One harem-group from Takhin Us has seen at the well in september which means that the group has enlarged there homerange very much by the means of the well.
Local administrations agree to Enlargement of the Great Gobi B SPA
The current area of the Great Gobi B SPA is part of four sums (Bugat und Tonhil im Gobi Altai Aimag und Altai und Uench im Khovd
Aimag). In this region the the last Takhis in the wild have been seen. By now 90 free-roaming Takhis live in the area.
In order to protect the Takhis and other species which cover long distances, it is important to work towards a bigger protected area. For more than one year work has to be done to enlarge the Great Gobi B SPA. By now all local administrations have agreed to the enlargement in democratic processes. In May 2014 the project will be discussed in the National Parliament in Ulaanbaatar.
Senior Ranger N. Altansukh received "honorary certificate" from Minister
Specialist N. Altansukh of the Takhintal reintroduction center has received the "Honorary Certificate" of the Ministry of Nature and Green Development (MNGD).
At Takhintal he works for the Great Gobi B SPA as a conservation officer as well as finance manager of the administration. Furthermore he helps coordinating the Takhi reintroduction project at of the ITG in this area. Contgratulation to this award!
Rare guest in the Dzungarian Gobi
On December 10th 2013 our rangers had the chance to take this great picture of a lynx in the Dzungarian Gobi.