It gives me great pleasure to announce the
2016 WildArt Mongolia Expedition!
The fourth Expedition will travel to the Great Gobi A Strictly Protected Area (see map below) to try to see critically endangered Gobi bear and, if possible, meet with the researchers. The current estimate is that there are around 40 bears. That’s all. They are a brown bear (Ursus arctos gobiensis). There are also wild bactrian camels (including a breeding facility that I’m going to try to arrange for us to visit), khulan/Mongolian wild ass, Gobi argali, Siberian ibex and Pallas’ cat, along with a variety of birds and small mammals. Wolves are present, but it’s unlikely we’ll see them. This is a remote place that tourists never go to. I am also arranging for us to visit with staff and local herder families who are involved with the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project, which is breeding the traditional mastiff-type guard dogs, bonding the puppies with livestock and placing them with families who live where their animals are exposed to predation. The dogs will stay with the sheep and goats 24/7. One goal of the project is to reduce the killing of predators like snow leopards and wolves. Another is to address desertification, an increasing problem in Mongolia.
If you have never tried field sketching, I will be happy to provide instruction. It’s a very special way of recording what one has seen and quite different than “just” taking photos (although I take thousands of those, too).
I have limited space this time. I can take three more participants. There are currently three, including myself. That is three people per Land Cruiser so that everyone has a window seat.
Dates: May 22-June 10, 2016 (these dates give us the best chance to see the bears and avoids the worst of the summer heat)
Cost: $3900 per person double occupancy, excluding airfare to Mongolia, alcoholic beverages, lodging before and after the Expedition (people will probably have different plans; there are nice guesthouses that charge $25/$35 a night for a private room, including breakfast and also the Bayangol Hotel (which was a little over $100 a night in 2015 if booked through Nomadic Journeys).
Nomadic Journeys, who have made all my in-country travel arrangements for nine of my ten trips to Mongolia (the first was an Earthwatch project in 2005), will be handling, as usual, all the arrangements and logistics. We will be tent camping (in stand-up tipitents, possibly with cots) and traveling in Land Cruisers with drivers, guide and cook. All meals are included (vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice; vegans regretfully cannot). A three season sleeping bag is necessary. As mentioned above we’ll be going to a place that is remote even for Mongolia, so I’ll be renting a satellite phone in case of emergencies.
It is necessary to plan for two nights in Ulaanbaatar before your international flight home, just in case we’re delayed in the field.
To reserve your place on the Expedition, please pay a $300 deposit on the Nomadic Journeys website here. For “Trip Name”, write WildArt Mongolia Expedition. While you’re on their site you can explore their options for before or after the Expedition, including self-guided ger camp stays.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me via the contact form on my website. Further information will be sent on expected weather conditions and equipment/clothing suggestions to those who are participating.