Orjan Johansson is our snow leopard collaring expert currently living at the research base camp in the South Gobi of Mongolia. Life is harsh in mountain ranges where snow leopards are found, and Orjan shares his experience:
As we were eating breakfast a couple of days ago it struck me that there are no ‘littles’ here. There is never “a little wind” or “a little hot”. Two days before this realization, it was an exceptionally hot day with a blazing sun. I was wearing a light shirt and still sweated heavily. But the day after, it was so cold that I had to dig out the long-johns and woolen cap again. This morning the wind blew so hard that the ger itself moved, and motor-biking would involve a substantial risk if caught in a crosswind.
For the past 50 days, I have had company more or less 24/7. The visitors have been great, but it is a little tiring to constantly have people that are dependent on me in camp. But the alternative is to be alone here, which I have been for the last three days after the visitors departed. Alone in the Gobi means living without another human being in sight. So I’m not ‘a little alone’. I’m totally alone.
Since my brother installed the microprocessors, our trap surveillance system has worked perfect! That is, it worked perfect until a few hours after my assistant and Charu left camp, then it broke down… With excellent help from my brother I have isolated the problem, a small amplifier broke. It is a common part found in most stores that sell electronic supplies and it costs a couple of dollars. Unfortunately, there are simply no electronic stores here. So I must again get up every third hour and climb the mountain to manually listen to the trap transmitters. I would love to be just ‘a little tired’ and ‘a little luckier’.