In Memory of Sumbe Tomorsukh

Our Mongolian colleague and friend Sumbe Tomorsukh would have celebrated his 28th birthday today. He was a talented researcher, and a passionate, dedicated advocate for the wildlife of his beloved Tost Mountains, in Mongolia's South Gobi province.

When water holes in the South Gobi froze over during a harsh winter, Sumbe carried several hundred pounds of ice up the mountain, so the animals would have enough to drink
When water holes in the South Gobi froze over during a harsh winter, Sumbe carried several hundred pounds of ice up the mountain, so the animals would have enough to drink

Sumbe was found dead in November 2015. An investigation into his death is ongoing, and his family and friends are still looking for answers as to what happened to him.

With his enthusiasm, Sumbe inspired everyone he met. He’ll never be forgotten.

One of Sumbe’s great passions was the conservation of snow leopards and their prey species in the Tost Mountains, of Gurvantes, South Gobi. This mountain range, which is the site of the Snow Leopard Trust’s ongoing long-term snow leopard study, is home to a stable, breeding population of these endangered cats.

It is also covered in mining exploration licenses that give companies the right to probe for precious minerals and potentially excavate them, which would destroy large parts of this prime snow leopard habitat.

Our research cameras in Tost snap pictures of new snow leopard cubs every year in Tost
Our research cameras in Tost snap pictures of new snow leopard cubs every year in Tost

In 2010, after a successful campaign led by the local community and assisted by our Mongolia team, Tost received the status of a Local Protected Area. This meant that no new mining licenses could be issued, but existing licenses remained valid.

Now, two members of parliament have submitted a draft for legislation that would elevate Tost to a National Protected Area [link in Mongolian], and would secure it for the future. Sumbe would have been beyond excited about this.

We’re hoping that the Mongolian parliament will pass this draft and make Tost a lasting monument to Sumbe’s legacy.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you Sumbe, you will not be forgotten for your great work. Your spirit is alive with the snow leopards. We will protect this cat and its habitat always.

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