February 10, 2010

Orjan, with cute animal -not snow leopard! -back on the Snow Leopard Trust's Mongolia project. Photo from SLT Blog.

Orjan is a Swedish PhD student working at the base camp of the Snow Leopard Trust’s long-term research project in Mongolia. Last year he blogged about his work capturing, collaring and collecting valuable data from five of the wild cats.

The last few months he’s been away from the project but is now back for another six months of work adventures. Follow him as he blogs about snow leopards, Mongolia, the people, the culture, the freezing climate …and Chinese police dogs….on the Snow Leopard Trust’s Blog .


Mongolian recipe to celebrate snow leopard blog birthday

October 31, 2009
Bayara. Photo from Panthera website.

Bayara. Photo from Panthera website.

 Here’s the next recipe to celebrate the snow leopard blog’s first birthday. I’m covering a recipe from each of the 12 snow leopard range countries. I haven’t been to Mongolia so I recently asked Bayarjargal (Bayara) Agvaantseren the Executive Director and founder of the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation (SLCF) in Mongolia for a suggested recipe. I’ve wanted to blog about Bayara anyway as she recently won the $25,000 Rabinowitz-Kaplan Prize for the Next Generation in Wild Cat Conservation. The prize goes to “a special individual who has already made a significant contribution to conserving wild cats.” 

SLE rug from mongolia. Photo by Sibylle.

SLE rug from Mongolia. Photo by Sibylle.

I’m a big fan of Bayara’s as she is the one who started the community-based conservation program now known as Snow Leopard Enterprises (SLE) in Mongolia. SLE supports the semi-nomadic herders in Mongolia, helping them increase their income through handicraft production in exchange for their tolerance of snow leopards. I’ve blogged about the beautiful crafts these people make before and indeed have a number of their rugs hanging on my study wall. They are sold here through the Snow Leopard Trust website. I’ll give another plug – they make wonderful Christmas presents and it’s definitely that time of year to to think about presents. 

Bayara began her career in snow leopard conservation as a member with Tom McCarthy’s (from the Snow Leopard Trust) snow leopard research team. She worked as a translator with herders and helps to understand human-snow leopard conflicts. She’s also been key in formulating Mongolia’s National Snow Leopard Policy and most recently played a key role in initiating the first ever long-term ecological study of snow leopards in South Gobi, Mongolia. 

See more about the prize on the Panthera website.

Mongolian steamed Buuz. Photo from Mongolfood website.

Mongolian steamed Buuz. Photo from Mongolfood website.

Bayara’s recipe is for Buuz – which is dough filled with traditionally lamb in Mongolia, but can be filled with chicken, beef or vegetables and then steamed. While I haven’t ever made them with lamb (not one of my favourites I must say) I have made them with chicken – absolutely delicious. The secret is all in the steaming method and making sure they don’t stick to the steamer which for some reason mine do all the time. Bayara suggests this recipe here.

 I’ve created a page for all the Snow Leopard blog birthday recipes together – see it here.


Giant snow leopard leaps up city building

August 23, 2009
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo promoting its snow loepard conservation work. Photo by KOAA.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo promoting its snow leopard conservation work. Photo by KOAA.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado has raised money with its “Quarters for Conservation program” that is going towards snow leopard conservation in Mongolia. The Zoo is telling its story with a giant snow leopard poster on the Colorado Springs American National bank building.

Megan Sanders, one of the zoo’s animal behavior managers has just returned from Mongolia where she met with local villagers and herders to encourage them to work towards saving the snow leopards that share their habitat. Megan says that with conservation work it’s important to “approach it from a community based conservation action plan.”

By helping communities get better incomes from other sources “there isn’t that need to go out and poach or need to be illegally selling pelts and things like that on the black market.”

 See more on the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s snow leopard conservation support here.

How does “Quarters for Conservation” work? See here.


More collaring success in Mongolia

May 28, 2009
SLT Mongolia project team in yurt

SLT Mongolia project team in yurt. Photo Snow Leopard Trust

Read the adventures of “Cookie guy”, also known as Orjan, a Swedish researcher working on radio collaring snow leopards in Mongolia. The locals like laughing at Orjan but he’s sure good at collaring wild snow leopards and collecting huge amounts of field data for the Snow Leopard Trust, an important wildlife protection group.
Over the last 12 months he and a local team have successfully collared 6 snow leopards in southern Mongolia. With GPS collars they’ve already learnt that the area the cats cover is over 1000 square km and covers more villages than previously thought. Important information because it turns out there are far more villages sharing the snow leopards’ habitat than the researchers knew. These are villages not taking part in the Snow Leopard Enterprise project and therefore still not supported financially if a snow leopard kills their livestock.  Read about Orjan’s continuing work here.