Key endangered species in Galba Gobi: status and provisional impact assessments of regional development scenarios

In spring and summer of 2009, a team of researchers from the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center (WSCC) and BirdLife International was dispatched to Galba Gobi IBA to survey Saker Falcons and Houbara Bustards.

During the project study period, the researchers collected ecological data associated with these two species, while also gathering much useful information on rare wild ungulates in the area. The study findings have demonstrated that the Galba Gobi is well fitted to qualify as an Important Bird Area.

The number of Houbara Bustards and Saker Falcons observed during the project study period was a clear indication of the importance of this area for these two globally threatened species. In fact, stricter conservation and management actions should be developed and implemented in this area to safeguard these species.

Read or download the full report (pdf format, 9.18MB) here. Printed copies can be obtained from the WSCC office or the World Bank office in Ulaanbaatar.

Mongolia's first local language bird guide

Until today, there was no good birdwatching guide available to Mongolians in local language. With the support and funding through BirdLife Asia and the Wild Bird Society of Japan, the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center have produced a field guide to the most common bird species in local language.

The new book, “A Field Guide to the Common Birds of Mongolia”, covers 160 bird species that occurs widely in the country. The book is intended for beginners and ordinary people to develop bird watching future in Mongolia. Because, for beginners, it is much easier to see and encounter common species compared to rare and elusive species, and so it should be encouraging for them. This is the main reason to produce this field guide. Also, the readers can find detailed information on main habitat types, Important Bird Areas, list of rare and endangered species, bird feeders and nest boxes, online birding resources, and related national law and regulations and international conventions.

The color plates used in this book were painted by a famous Japanese artist Takashi Taniguchi and provided free of charge. Printing was funded by the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, Japan.

The book will be given away to all secondary schools throughout country. Yes, every school will get a free copy of this new book. Also, funds from the sales of remaining copies will be used to run the Mongolian Bird Watching Club, which was funded by the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center, and to organize various bird watching activities in Mongolia as well.

Safeguarding Important Areas of Natural
Habitat Alongside Economic Development

This report aims to answer questions : Which are the important areas of natural habitat? How many and where are located the important areas of natural habitat in Mongolia? How many important areas of the natural habitat of Mongolia are threatened? How many of the important areas of natural habitat are in our aimag territory? In what ways can local people participate in the protection of important areas of natural habitat? How many of the protected areas overlap with the areas of mining? Should ‘tourist camps’ be allowed to be established within some of the important areas of natural habitat? .

As market reforms to the economy continue, and the country experiences rapid economic growth, Mongolia's natural habitats look set to enter a period of unprecedented pressure. Given the development pressures they face there is a need to assess the threats to important areas of natural habitat in Mongolia, including national and local protected areas, areas protected by international conventions and treaties, natural sacred sites and globally significant areas like Important Bird Areas - IBAs. There is a need to strengthen measures to safeguard these areas, and provide examples good practice to facilitate avoiding, mitigating and compensating for impacts.

In response to this need, The World Bank funded a study on the potential impacts of mining, infrastructure and tourism development on the important areas of natural habitat in Mongolia, and to make recommendations for further actions of implementation to mitigate adverse impacts. This report is intended for those who make decisions on land use, executing and implementing agencies, international funding organizations, national and international investors in mining, infrastructure and tourism industries, local and international environmental organizations, researchers and individuals.

Read or download the full report (pdf format, 9.18MB) here. Printed copies can be obtained from the WSCC office or the World Bank office in Ulaanbaatar.

Directory of Important Bird Areas in Mongolia

Mongolian Important Bird Area (IBA) workshop was held in Ulaanbaatar in May 2007. Based on the results of the workshop and on follow-up work, the Mongolian IBA directory was launched in Ulaanbaatar in February 2009.

Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are internationally important areas for the conservation of birds and other biodiversity. They are identified using objective, internationally accepted, criteriaand are used to guide conservation planning, action and sustainable development.

A total of 70 IBAs have been identified in Mongolia,

Info (PDF-files) on each of these IBAs can be found online here.

Learn more about IBAs in Mongolia

Popuation status of Swan Goose in eastern Mongolia

The Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides) mostly breeds in eastern Russia, Mongolia and north-east China. The species is threatened largely by habitat loss, water pollution , hunting in its wintering grounds, and its population has been continuously declining over the last decade.

An extensive survey of Swan Goose populations inhabiting lakes and river systems in eastern Mongolia took place in 2006. The study was conducted by ornithologists from Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Korean National Science Museum, Korea Institute of Environmental Ecology and WSCC.

Based on the survey’s results it was estimated that there are between 20,000-24,000 swan geese in the eastern part of Mongolia. The study also found evidence of nesting habitat loss, severity in the environmental condition due to drought driven water level change and disturbance by livestock and herders activities being the most critical problems to the Swan Goose populations.

This report gives the latest assessment for the Swan Goose population in eastern Mongolia. Printed copies of this report is available both in Mongolian and Korean languages.

Biodiversity in Orkhon Valey, UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Ministry of Nature and Environment of Mongolia and Cultural Properties Administration of Republic of Korea funded a study to collect baseline biological and ecological data, that can be used to prepare the animal and plant section of the Preservation and Management Plan for Cultural and Natural Heritages in Orkhon River Valley – one of two UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in Mongolia.

Six teams of researchers from Korea and Mongolia studied various aspects of birds, mammals, insects, fish, plants, and nomad herders. In addition to biodiversity data, extensive information on cultural monuments such as architectural works, monumental sculpture, rock paintings, elements or structures of archaeological sites etc (which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art, and science in Orkhon River Valley) have been obtained.

Report is available both in Mongolian and Korean languages.

Conservation and Research of Cinereous Vultures in central Mongolia

Mongolia supports the world's largest remaining breeding population of cinereous vultures, the largest bird of prey on the continent. Shooting, poisoning, loss of nesting habitat, human disturbance of nesting sites and food scarcity are threatening this surprisingly graceful bird. Since 2002, our researchers have collected data about their ecology in Erdenesant research camp.

Part of our work was supported by Korean Cultural Heritage Administration, which is a government body responsible for conservation of natural monument species in South Korea, in 2005. The species is listed as Natural Monument No.243, a conservation designation and number that is given to rare wildlife species by the KCHA. The Korean Government concerned because the largest wintering congregation of cinereous vultures occurs in South Korea at a handful of locations near Demilitarized Zone (also known as DMZ zone). We were approached by KNHA because we had the best source of information on natural history of this species that is essential for making important conservation decision related to wintering vultures on Korean peninsula.

With the support from the project we were able to publish our study results in Mongolian and Korean languages and distributed to local and national governments and people in both countries which has became an important source of information for the conservation of this species.

Conservation and Research of Natural Heritage

This is the Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium between Mongolia and Republic of Korea which was held in September 30, 2006, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The main topic of the symposium was the protection of Cinereous Vultures Aegypius monachus in both countries and the exchange of information to facilitate further cooperation. In recent years, the number of Cinereous Vultures on the Korean peninsula has increased dramatically and concerns of starvation, poisoning, and electrocution have become important issues.

In addition, researchers from both countries presented details of current activities on biodiversity and cultural diversity conservation issues that share common issues in both Mongolia and Korea.

Directory of scientific literatures on Mongolian avifauna
published in the 20th century

WSCC is developing a reference database, Wildlife Information System (WIS), for literatures on vertebrates in Mongolia. The first major work was completed by Dr.Tseveenmyadag Natsagdorj of the Institute of Biology, MAS in 2005. It was a compilation of references published on Mongolian avian fauna in the last two centuries.

In this book, you will find over 1235 papers and articles on Mongolian birds in 10 different languages written by 550 researchers from more than 20 countries.

In the future, we are planning to print the directory of references on Mongolian mammals. The major part of the list has been collected and compiled by Dr.Sanduin Dulamtseren, a famous biologist of the Institute of Biology, MAS, who was retired several years ago.

All references in the WIS are stored in a special reference database and management software and we plan to make the system freely available to public and scientific community in the future.

Papers and articles

Dixon, A., Batbayar, N., G.Purev-Ochir. 2011. Autumn migration of an Amur Falcon Falco amurensis from Mongolia to the Indian Ocean tracked by satellite. Forktail 27:81-84.

Hawkes LA, Balachandran S, Batbayar N, Butler PJ, Frappell PB, et al. 2011. The trans-Himalayan flights of bar-headed geese (Anser indicus). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108: 9516-9519.

Takekawa, J. Y., S. R. Heath, D. C. Douglas, W. M. Perry, S. Javed, S. H. Newman, A. R. Rahmani, B. C. Choudhury, D. J. Prosser, B. Yan, Y. Hou, N. Batbayar, T. Natsagdorj, C. M. Bishop, P. J. Butler, P. B. Frappell, W. K. Milsom, L. A. Hawkes, and M. Wilkelski. 2009. Geographic variation in Bar-headed Geese Anser indicus: connectivity of wintering areas and breeding grounds across a broad front. Wildfowl 59:102-125.

Bourouiba L, Wu J, Newman S, Takekawa J, Natdorj T, et al. 2010. Spatial dynamics of bar-headed geese migration in the context of H5N1. J R Soc Interface 7: 1627-1639.

Gilbert M, Newman SH, Takekawa JY, Loth L, Biradar C, et al. (2010) Flying Over an Infected Landscape: Distribution of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 Risk in South Asia and Satellite Tracking of Wild Waterfowl. Ecohealth 7: 448-458.

Batbayar N., Jargalsaikhan A., and S.Gansukh. 2010. Bat diversity inhabiting arid steppe habitat in central Mongolia. Journal for Biological Resources of Mongolia, Volume 11. Halle University, Germany. Accepted, in press due April 2010.

Newman, S. H., S. A. Iverson, J. Y. Takekawa, M. Gilbert, D. J. Prosser, N. Batbayar, T. Natsagdorj & D. C. Douglas (2009) Migration of whooper swans and outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus in eastern Asia. PLoS One, 4:e5729.

Kenny, C., N. Batbayar, P. Tsolmonjav, M.J. Willis, J. Azua, and R. Reading. 2008. Dispersal of Eurasian Black Vulture Aegypius monachus fledglings from the Ukh Nature Reserve, Mongolia. Vulture News 59:13-19.

Amarsaikhan, S., Nyambayar B., N.Batsaikhan. 2008. A contribution to the population ecology of Brandt’s Vole (Microtus Brandti RADDE, 1861) in Middle Khalkh Steppe. pp 151-157. in Fundamental and Applied Issues of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Proceedings of the Conference for 20th Anniversary of the Department of Ecology, Faculty of Biology, National University of Mongolia, April 25, 2008, Ulaanbaatar

Batbayar, N., R. Reading, D. Kenny, T. Natsagdorj, and P. Won Kee. 2008. Migration and movement patterns of cinereous vultures in Mongolia. Falco 32:5-7.

Dixon A., Batbayar N., Etheridge M., Purev-Ochir G., and G.Sundev. 2008. Development of the Artificial Nest Project in Mongolia. Falco 32: 8-10.

Dixon, A., M. Etheridge, G. Purev-Ochir, and N. Batbayar. 2008. Saker Falcons rearing an Upland Buzzard chick. Falco 31:7-8.

Nyambayar, B., A. Braunlich, N. Tseveenmyadag, S. Shar, and S. Gantogs. 2007. Conservation of the critically endangered East Asian population of Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus in western Mongolia. BirdingASIA 7:68-74.

Nyambayar, B. and Tseveenmyadag, N. eds. 2008. Directory of Important Bird Areas in Mongolia: Key Sites for Conservation. Wildlife Science and Conservation Center, Institute of Biology of MAS, and BirdLife International. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Poulakakis, N., Antoniou, A., Mantziou, G., Skartsi, Th., Vasilakis D., Elorriaga J., de la Puente J., Gavashelishvili A., Ghasabyan M., Katzner T., McGrady M., Batbayar N., Fuller M., Natsagdorj T. 2008. Population structure, diversity, and phylogeography in the near-threatened Eurasian black vultures Aegypius monachus (Falconiformes; Accipitridae) in Europe : insights from microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA variation. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 95 (4) 859-872 .

Nyambayar, B., N. Tseveenmyadag, and S. Boldbaatar. 2007. Researches and banding activities in Mongolia. Pages 97-106 in H.-Y. Chae, and C.-Y. Choi, editors. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Migratory Birds: Recent Trend of Researches and Conservation Efforts. Korea National Park Migratory Birds Center, Seoul, Korea.

Tseveenmyadag N. Nyambayar B., Monkhzul Ts., Paek W.K., Chun B.S., Paik I.H., 2007. Distribution and population status of swan geese (Anser cygnoides) in Amur River basin in Mongolia. Proceedings of Institute of Biology 134-138.

Nyambayar B., Tseveenmyadag N. 2007. Highly pathogenic avian influenza – Influenza report 2006 – what we should know? Proceedings of Institute of Biology 124-128.

Nyambayar B., A.Bold, M.Fuller, R.Watson. 2006. Nesting ecology and breeding success of cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) in central Mongolia. In: Proceedings of 3rd International Ornithological Conference on Modern problems of ornithology in Siberia and Central Asia. Ulan-Ude, Russia

Tseveenmyadag N., Bold A., Nyambayar B., Sch.Boldbaatar B., and G.Mainjargal. 2005. Negative impacts of chemical poisons on agricultural practice in Mongolia. Birds, amphibians, and retiles of Mongolia. Vol 2. page 85-93.

Nyambayar B., Sumiya G., and D.Bolbayar. 2005. Composition of bird species in Erdenesant. Birds, amphibians, and retiles of Mongolia. Vol 2. page 94-102.

Nyambayar B., Fuller M.F. 2004. Integrating livestock herding and wildlife conservation: Cinereous vultures and other examples. In Science for Watershed Conservation: Multidisciplinary approaches for natural resource management. Ulan-Ude, Russia – Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 1-8 September 2004, International conference abstracts in two volumes. Vol. 2. pp 10-11.

Gombobaatar S., Tseveenmyadag N., and Nyambayar B. 2003. Current status of research and future trends of Swan Goose Anser cygnoides and Baikal Teal Anas formosa in Mongolia. International Anatidae Symposium In East Asia & Siberia Region. 31 october-3 November 2003. Venus /Hanseo University, Seosan, Korea. p. 79-82.

Nyambayar B. 2003. Wintering waterfowls in the Khar Us Nuur National Park, western Mongolia. 2003 International Anatidae Symposium In East Asia & Siberia Region. 31 October -3 November 2003. Hanseo University, Seosan, Korea. pp 79-82.

Batbayar N., Dorjderem S., Tseveenmyadag N., Bandi D. 2006. Nestling growth of the cinereous vultures Aegypius monachus L. in Mongolia. In: Batbayar N., Paek Won Kee, and Bold, A. (eds.) Conservation and Research of Natural Heritage. Proceedings of Second joint Korean - Mongolian symposium on nature conservation. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. September 30, 2006. Wildlife Science and Conservation Center.

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