Journeys like the WildArt Mongolia Expedition don’t happen without help and support. I’m very pleased to announce that a French conservation organization, Association GOVIIN KHULAN, dedicated to the khulan or Mongolian Wild Ass, has consented to lend their name and expertise to me in the person of the President, Anne-Camille Souris, who has carried out research on khulan and, before that, takhi, for many years. We have also been Facebook friends for quite awhile and hope to finally meet in person in Ulaanbaatar at the end of August.
Anne-Camille did her takhi, and some of her past khulan research, at Takhiin Tal, one of the three destinations for the Expedition. She will be providing information and answering questions for both species and also the place where they live.
One of the areas where our interests intersect is the use of art to promote conservation. Anne-Camille has established a sub-group within the Association called the Goviin Khulan Art Alliance whose mission is “Mongolian Art and Culture in Support of Biodiversity Conservation” through which she involves Mongolian artists in a variety of media to help “Reinforce links between Mongolian culture and traditions with the endangered Mongolian Khulan, other species, and nature protection.”
Since wildlife art fieldwork, as it is known among western wildlife artists, is not really known in Mongolia, I am now affiliated with this project as a Wildlife Expert so that I can be available as a resource for Mongol artists who are interested in this approach to animal art, which requires certain wildlife approach skills, specialized camera equipment and a willingness to research the natural history and behavior of one’s subjects.
I’m hoping in the next few weeks that Anne-Camille will be able to tell you herself through a guest post about her organization and about the khulan, a species that I myself have not seen yet.