Celebrating 20 Years of Conservation in Gurvan Saikhan National Park

Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, Mongolia’s largest protected area, is home to the endangered snow leopard and many other rare species. The Snow Leopard Trust has been partnering with the park for six years, training and equipping rangers for conservation and research. This week, the park celebrated its 20th anniversary.

At a celebration in the provincial capital of Dalanzadgad, officials highlighted the importance of Gurvan Saikhan (“Three Beauties”) National Park as a snow leopard stronghold. With the newly established Tost Nature Reserve and the adjacent Great Gobi National Park, Gurvan Saikhan is part of one of the world’s largest continuous protected areas for the endangered big cat and its prey.

One of the snow leopards of Gurvan Saikhan National Park is grooming in front of a research camera.
One of the snow leopards of Gurvan Saikhan National Park is grooming in front of a research camera.

With our Mongolian partner organization, the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation (SLCF), we’ve worked in the nearby Tost Mountains – now the Tost Nature Reserve – since 1996, conducting the world’s longest-running snow leopard study and fighting for the area’s protection alongside the local community.

In 2010, we began expanding our study into Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. Since then, our team has trained park rangers in using GPS and QGIS technologies as well as camera trapping and monitoring techniques. Thanks to the support of SLCF and SLT, all Gurvan Saikhan park rangers have been supplied with GPS units and binoculars – perhaps a first for a Mongolian National Park.

Today, the park rangers of Gurvan Saikhan are playing a crucial role in studying the area’s snow leopard population as well as their prey. They are helping us monitor most of the park with research cameras.

At the celebration to mark Gurvan Saikhan’s 20th anniversary, park officials expressed their gratitude for the long-term collaboration with SLCF and Snow Leopard Trust. Snow Leopard Trust Assistant Director of Science, Gustaf Samelius, who attended the event during a recent field visit, highlighted the crucial role of park staff in particular for snow leopard conservation, and thanked them for their hard work.

Justine Shanti Alexander, Puravjav Lkhagvajav, and Gustaf Samelius and proudly posing with their medals of appreciation.
Justine Shanti Alexander, Puravjav Lkhagvajav, and Gustaf Samelius and proudly posing with their medals of appreciation.

Gustaf and his colleagues, Snow Leopard Trust Regional Ecologist Justine Shanti Alexander and SLCF Manager of Monitoring and Research Purevjav Lkhagvajav, were kindly honored for their work by park officials with medals of appreciation.

2 Comments

  1. That’s very true Susan, thanks for pointing this out. For clarity’s sake, we’ve often referred to Great Gobi A Strictly Protected Area as a National Park. As you certainly know, there are slight differences between these two distinctions, but for most practical purposes, they’re comparable.

    Matt, SLT Communications Manager

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