The Association GOVIIN KHULAN* is a French non-profit organization co-founded in November 2007 by Anne-Camille Souris (wildlife biologist, studying Mongolian wild Equids behavioral ecology since 2003, member of the SSC/IUCN Equid Specialist Group and National Geographic explorer since 2008). This is first and only NGO in Mongolia sorely dedicated to the conservation of the threatened Mongolian Wild Ass / Mongolian Khulan (Equus hemionus hemionus).
**"Goviin khulan" means in Mongolian: The Mongolian Wild Ass of the Gobi, and Khulan is the mongolian name for the Mongolian Wild Ass.
The main threats affecting the Gobi Desert ecosystem and its wildlife are: climate change, illegal hunting and trade, and habitat fragmentation, loss and degradation from human development.
Our mission: Association GOVIIN KHULAN's mission is the conservation of the Mongolian Wild Ass/Khulan as an umbrella species of the Gobi Desert ecosystem, in partnership with protected areas' administration and local communities.
By protecting the Mongolian Wild Ass/Khulan as an umbrella species, we also aim to enhance protection of other Gobi species and the Gobi Desert ecosystem through - collaboration, science-based conservation activities, environmental education, capacity building and community-based/led conservation - for a long-term success.
Our vision: We envision a region where Mongolian Wild Asses and other Gobi wildlife thrive in preserved landscapes, in a harmonious coexistence with humans.
Scientific research - We conduct research, and partner with other scientific teams on several aspects of biodiversity , ecology and wildlife behavioral ecology.
Capacity building - We provide professional training to protected areas' staff and rangers we cooperate with in order to
enhance their knowledge and skills about ecology and biodiversity conservation as well as about research methods. We are developing a specific curriculum for protected areas that will
contain on-site, in-the-field and online training and knowledge assessment activities. We also provide training and support to some Mongolian locals (herders, Buddhist monks...) to help them as
"citizen conservationists" since they live in our study area all year round and depend on a healthy ecosystem to survive. They can also provide an invaluable contribution to the long-term success
of wildlife and habitat protection.
Community-based and led conservation activities - We involve some members of the local communities in conservation activities and empower them to initiate and lead their own conservation activities. We also provide them with professional training.
Local culture and traditions in support to biodiversity conservation - We work with Buddhist monks from our study area to
reinforce links between Mongolian culture and traditions with conservation of the Mongolian khulan and the Gobi ecosystem.
Environmental education - We conduct conservation education activities in the Gobi Desert to inform, engage and empower the local community - with a specific emphasis to children - in wildlife and ecosystems protection. We produce exclusive educational resources such as educational brochures, monitoring brochures, cartoons and children's books in collaboration with local artists and designers.
Participatory research, citizen science and conservation tourism - We organize, in partnership with locally based and international travel agencies, wildlife observation, ecotourism and citizen science expeditions in our study area and other areas of Mongolia, during which travellers can: observe a high variety of wildlife, be involved in some of our research and conservation activities and meet with our local scientific assistants and members of our study area's local community.
Our study area is located in the south and southeast Gobi.
In the Gobi region, water is a critical resource for livestock, humans and wildlife, but is very rare and very scarce. The availability of water, mostly in the form of springs, lakes, seeks, is highly variable and depends on local rainfall patterns.