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.
GIS-Remote Sensing CourseM. 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!
Presentations at SCB-AsiaOur 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!
Developing Careers of Bustard Team MembersAll 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.
Master's student carries out second field seasonThanks 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.
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!
Editing on bustard documentary is completeEditing 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.
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.
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.
Career counseling session for rural youthOur 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.