Mongolia Monday: The Five Snouts, Part 2

Most of us don’t think of Mongolia as cattle country, but I did see at least a few most places I went. Needless to say, they are as hardy as the other animals the herders keep. There are a number of breeds and they have also been crossed with yaks to create a hybrid the Mongolians call a Hainag. Here are some that I saw when I was at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve in spring of 2005.

This cow and calf were part of a group that were coming down to the stream for water.

Here’s a black cow who looked me over for a minute.

And, of the most interest to me, since it demonstrates the competition wildlife can face from domestic stock, are a couple of argali down at the same stream with the cattle.

When I was in western Mongolia in Sept./Oct. of 2006 we stopped at a ger and I took a number of pictures, including a few of this beautifully dressed woman and her cattle. The man was one of my guides. As it turned out, what I had photographed was him buying milk…for us! When we were back in the van and on our way, I was offered a swig of milk, warm and right out of the cow. It was the best milk I’d ever tasted! It was also the first time this town-raised girl had ever had milk that wasn’t out of a carton. And no, I didn’t “pay” for it later, fortunately.

Mongolia Monday: The Five Snouts, Part 1

My understanding is that, to this day, around half of Mongolian population of 2.9 million people still live as the Mongols always have, as herders. Their animals are, of course, central to their lives and provide income, food, clothing and shelter. There are five species: horses, goats, sheep, cattle and bactrian camels. Collectively the Mongolians refer to them as The Five Snouts or also Five Jewels.

I thought that I would post a few photos of each for the next five weeks, at which point I will be on my way to Mongolia (Aug. 24 departure).

Let’s start with two-humped bactrian camels, made famous by the movie The Story of the Weeping Camel. They provide wool and milk. I don’t think they are used for food very often:

I saw this pretty white camel by the road on my first trip in 2005.

This string of camels was at a ger we visited near a salt deposit in western Mongolia.

On our way back from Khomiin Tal, there was a large herd of animals along the north shore of Khar Us Nuur, including lots of camels.

And finally, I photographed this big guy on our way back to Ulaanbaatar from the Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve.