Great Bustards often gather in low-intensity agricultural fields and thus live close to human settlements.  However, due to this species' wary nature, many people are unaware of its presence or misinformed about its natural history.  At the same time, there are also individuals in the community - herders, farmers, and hunters - who observe Great Bustards as they carry out daily activities. Our team works within local communities to exchange information about this charismatic species and to facilitate environmental education at all levels – from grade school to the supervision of university students and the incorporation of local adults into research activities.  


School Programs:


Supporting Young Scientists:


Involvement of Local Adults :


Reaching a Broader Audience:

Great Bustard Documentary Reaches Audiences in China

The documentary on Great Bustards createdby EBA for Mongolian audiences has been translated into Chinese by the non-governmental conservation organization China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation. The documentary is available on their website, as well as WeChat/Weixin, Weibo, Iqiyi and Sohu, where it has received at least 10,000 views. June 2019


Great Bustard - Kazakhstan's Bird of the Year

Members of the Association for Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK) and the Union for Bird Conservation in Kazakhstan have selected the Great Bustard as Kazakhstan's 2019 Bird of the Year! We estimate that just 1000-1500 of these impressive birds remain in broader Central Asia. Causes of decline include hunting and incompatible farming methods. We are working with ACBK to develop an outreach poster about conservation of the Great Bustard in Kazakhstan, as well as their annual "Bird of the Year" desk calendar. January 2019


Nine speakers focus on bustard conservation at SCB-Asia

A symposium organized at the Society for Conservation Biology Asia Section conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan has brought attention to the need for conservation action for three bustard species in northern Eurasia: Great Bustard, Little Bustard, and Asian Houbara Bustard. Presentations were prepared by Nigel Collar, chair of the IUCN Bustard Specialist Group, Muyang Wang, John Burnside, Dashnyam Batsuuri, Maxim Koshkin, Elena Kreuzberg, Manuel Morales, Mimi Kessler, and Gang Liu. The panel described poaching, collisions with powerlines, and incompatible agricultural practices as major threats to these birds. August 2018


Nat geo Panel shines Spotlight on Asian Great Bustard Conservation

Mimi Kessler was invited to speak about the "Secret Lives of Great Bustards," as part of a panel at the National Geographic Explorers Festival in Washington DC. National Geographic is funder of our research on Great Bustards. You can watch Mimi's talk, and learn more about the inspiring and groundbreaking work of other National Geographic explorers, here. June 2018


BirdLife Summit for the Flyways Highlights Bustard Conservation

A key focus of BirdLife's Summit for the Flyways, held in Abu Dhabi, was the urgent need for bustard conservation. 15 of the world's 26 species of bustards are listed as at risk by IUCN - including the three species found in Eurasia. Speakers from Eurasian Bustard Alliance, China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, International Fund for Houbara Conservation, and University of East Anglia shared research findings and discussed strategies to confront the formidable challenges facing Eurasian species. April 2018


GIS-Remote Sensing Course

M. Kessler and B. Nyambayar co-taught a course in GIS-Remote Sensing for conservation professionals in Mongolia, with J. Burnham of the International Crane Foundation. At WSCC's field base in eastern Mongolia, we carried out lessons in habitat classification, ArcGIS analysis, and data assessment. Fortuitously, bustards were in residence near the site of the training, which allowed us to give course participants their first sighting of the species! August 2015


Presentations at SCB-Asia

Our team will make two symposium presentations at the Society for Conservation Biology - Asia conference this August. In the presentation, "Steppe by Steppe," we will discuss our perspectives on the importance of community engagement and long-term research for the conservation of both Great Bustards and Taimen. Colleagues attending the meeting are invited to stop by our presentations, and get in touch! August 2014


Developing Careers of Bustard Team Members

All three master's students who have worked with our team are now employed in positions where their experience with bustards is relevant and influential! Dashnyam is working in the Environmental Department of Oyu Tolgoi, while Natsag and Tuvshin are working in National Protected Areas offices. June 2014


Master's student carries out second field season

Thanks to your support of our RocketHub campaign, our team's second master's student G. Natsag has traveled to the field to undertake field research on bustard breeding behavior for his master's degree. RocketHub funds are also being used to support genetic research and satellite transmission of data from Great Bustards harnessed with GPS units. May 2013


Watch "Mongolian Myth Bustards!"

Check out the 5-minute video collaborator V. Cox has put together to acquaint English-speaking audiences with our conservation research and outreach program! January 2013


Editing on bustard documentary is complete

Editing of our documentary has been completed and DVDs with a 30-minute, Mongolian-language narration have been printed. We are now fundraising for distribution of the film. We would like to donate copies to all public schools in Mongolia, as well as arranging for airing of the documentary on public television. November 2011


It's a Wrap!

The end of July brings the end of this year's bustard field work and the filming of our bustard documentary. Natsag and Mimi will travel to join Olaf Jensen's climate change research group before heading back to the city. July 2011


Team member B. Dashnyam defends master's thesis!

B. Dashnyam, a team member since 2007, successfully defended his master's thesis on Great Bustard diet and habitat preferences. Join us in congratulating Dashnyam! Dashnyam is now employed at the Ornithology Lab of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. His research and graduate study was sponsored by the Central Asian Great Bustard project. May 2011


Career counseling session for rural youth

Our career counseling session for rural high school students was a hit, with over 60 students in attendance. Our team's master's students explained the college admissions process and factors to consider in choosing a major. The transition from a communist economic system in which students were channeled into fields of study, to a free market economy in which students select their owncourse of study has been confusing for many. May 2011



Notes from Previous Field Seasons: