Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Satellite tracking Bactrian camels in the Gobi Desert

GPS tracking to find Bactrian camel migration routes In October 2011 Prof. Chris Walzer and Dr. Gabrielle Stalder (veterinary scientists at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at the Veterinary Science University, Vienna) successfully attached GPS satellite collars to endangered wild Bactrian camels in the Mongolian desert. Their efforts are part of the long-term Gobi Research Project on wild horses, Asiatic wild asses, and other animals that make this unique environment their home.
Just 3 populations of Bactrian camels left alive
The range of the wild Bactrian camel (Camelus ferus) has been reduced to only three locations world-wide: two in China (Lop Nuur and Taklamakan desert) and one in Mongolia (Great Gobi Specially Protected Area). The Great Gobi Protected Area was established in 1975 to protect a unique desert environment that is home to several rare or globally threatened mammal species, such as the wild Bactrian camel, the Gobi bear (Ursus arctos gobiensis), the snow leopard (Uncia uncia), the argali wild sheep (Ovis ammon) and the Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus).

However, habitat deterioration due to increasing human demand for livestock pastures and water resources, illegal hunting, and recently also a marked increase in illegal placer mining (mining valuable minerals by washing or dredging activities) in the protected area region have become a conservation concern.

"Increasing incidences of resource extraction in the area seriously jeopardize the integral protection of the camel´s and other species´ habitat," says Chris Walzer, a senior veterinary scientist at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology (FIWI) of the Veterinary Science University, Vienna, who has a long-standing landscape-level commitment to conservation research in the Gobi.

Read more here ...

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