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Премия рунета 2017

The first musk deer survey was held in "The Sources of the Amur River" in Mongolia

14 march 2019
Early in March Sokhondo Nature Reserve (Russia) and Onon-Balj National Park (Mongolia) carried out a joint musk deer survey with WWF Russia support.

The edge of the musk deer home range is located in Onon-Balj National Park. On 5-6 March Russian and Mongolian colleagues from two protected areas organized joint activities to search and count musk deer in key parts of this territory. A small mountain massif Bayan-Khan was surveyed. It is located in the area of the confluence of the Balj and Kirkun Rivers. The part of the mountain range on the right bank of the Onon River was examined as well. Compare to Sokhondo Nature Reserve where musk deer count is conducted on a regular basis, the census on the territory of the Onon-Balj was organized for the first time, and the experience of Russian experts was very useful.

Expedition to the Onon Balj National Park to count musk deer
Evgeny Malkov / Sokhondo Nature reserve

The joint team of experts was divided into two groups: on foot and on horses. They surveyed the whole mountain massif in search of musk deer tracks. The territory of survey is hard for any passages. There are sharp slopes, altitude changes and lack of trails. The work took the whole day.

«In the course of the survey the tracks of musk deer presence were found in the most remote corners of the Bayan-Khan. The tracks are very few and rare. The signs of mask deer presents are the tracks on the snow, feces and trails. – comments Evgeny Malkov, deputy head on science of Sokhondo Nature Reserve. On the next day we surveyed the mountain range on the right bank of the Onon River and found tracks of musk deer there. On this, we can say that the musk deer inhabits the eastern edges of Mongolian Khentii, its numbers are few and rare. This can be explained by the border of the home range which is not represented by its native biotopes.
Musk deer
Viktor Yashnov / Sokhondo Nature Reserve

Sokhondo Nature Reserve is a reserve for musk deer, which has become a rare species in Zabaikalsky province due to the poachers’ snares. Thanks to protection regime, its number increases and, according to Evgeny Malkov, is not less than 700 individuals.

“For more than 15 years, Sokhondo Nature Reserve has been cooperating with Onon-Balj National Park. The first joint research expedition was organized on these protected areas in 2004. A project for the creation of the “Sources of Amur” transboundary protected area has been prepared long time ago. And although a united transboundary protected area has not yet been established, the staff both PAs each year jointly work on protection of rare animals, transboundary rivers during fish spawning, and carry out fire prevention measures. It is important that annual monitoring studies in the border area based on a unified methodology have become traditional. This helps protect rare species in the Amur-Heilong Ecoregion more effectively,” comments Anna Serdyuk, PhD, senior project coordinator for protected areas at WWF-Russia Amur Branch.
For additional information please contact
Project Coordinator