On 20 December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March – the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973 – as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. World Wildlife Day 2020 celebrated the theme of “Sustaining all life on Earth”, encompassing all wild animal and plant species as key components of the world’s biodiversity.
To honour world wildlife day in Mongolia, I spoke to Anne Camille Souris of the Association Goviin Khulan a small NGO that we work in long term partnership together with on Mongolian conservation and research expedition.Environmental safeguarding and protection are taking place at a grass-roots level in Mongolia, and the Association Goviin Khulan NGO is at the forefront of this grassroots approach – working to protect the khulan and its natural habitat.
This NGO practice interactive people-centred conservation – a multidisciplinary and innovative approach that takes into consideration the needs, difficulties, and culture of the local area, focuses on the local knowledge available and directly involves the regional population of the southeast Gobi (both protected area rangers and the local communities – mainly in Dorngobi Aimag).
According to Anne-Camille, the main threats that affect wildlife in Mongolia are:
She hopes to see:
Anne Camille Souris also understands that the long-term success of a conservation project of an endangered species requires educating the local population. As part of their educational programme, the Association Goviin Khulan have written and published a conservation-based book The Lost Khulan of The Gobi with illustrations by talented Mongolian artist Zolbootulguldur O. The funds of this book go back into conservation education carried out by the organisation in Mongolia and the book is being used to help promote awareness of the issues surrounding the Mongolian Khulan.
It’s been used by the Wildlife Conservation Society Mongolia and Говийн бага дархан цаазат газар (which is one of Association Goviin Khulan’s local partners) during a local awareness day arranged in the Khanbogd community in the south-east Gobi. It is also part of the ‘nature education trunk’ to the region of Khanbogd and Sainshand. Copies of the book have been donated to families who are involved in the khulan conservation program, to staff of the Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area ‘B’ as well as local schoolchildren at a school where the English teacher of this school invited AGK to do a presentation about the Mongolian khulan to the students.