Community-based and Community-led Conservation

The Guardians of Gobi wildlife & nature, and Citizen conservationists

Over the past years our organization has involved a selection of individuals from the local community of our project's areas as Citizen Conservationists and Guardians of Gobi wildlife and nature. Our main focus has been to involve a few members of the community of a Buddhist monastery as well as a few herders of our project areas.

We have empowered them as citizen conservationists and Guardians of Gobi wildlife and nature, training them to collect data on Gobi wildlife and to use camera traps, involving them in our research activities but also in local environmental awareness.

Their enthusiastic involvement in our project contributed to gathering a high amount of data on wildlife and livestock use of water sources, on ecology of various Gobi species, as well as on intraspecific and interspecific competitions at these water sources. Besides helping with data collection, they also learned more about behavioral ecology of the Gobi species inhabiting their areas and these species' ecosystem services as we shared with them the results of our research and of their contributions to our research program.

These citizen conservationists - as well as citizen conservations being involved in the course of 2024-2025 and beyond - will also play a very important role in our conservation tourism program (we will post more in detail about this conservation tourism program later).

 

 

In 2008, while we were starting our conservation program in the south and southeast regions of Mongolia's Gobi Desert, we discovered by chance the Buddhist monastery of the native Mountain which is located amidst mountains, in a very remote and preserved area, and in the core habitat of the Mongolian Khulan. We then understood the importance of partnering with this monastery's community, in order to strengthen the bonds between Mongolian Buddhism and wildlife and nature protection, to keep wildlife thriving in this preserved area, away from human disturbances. Since many local visitors coming from different regions of the Gobi Desert and Mongolia stop by this monastery every year, this site also plays a vital role in local environmental awareness.

 

We believe that besides helping our organization to collect data about Gobi wildlife, members of the local community can also directly learn about ecology of Gobi wildlife and the ecosystem services provided by the different Gobi species, by taking part to hands-on scientific and conservation activities.  They can also contribute to raise local environmental knowledge by sharing their knowledge with other members of the local community. Thus, they can provide an invaluable contribution to the long-term success to protection of Gobi wildlife and the Gobi ecosystem. 

 

 

The members of the Buddhist monastery community of the Native Mountain will remain our focus area within the coming years.  We will also involve additional members of the local community as well.

 

 

Through involving local community members in our conservation program, we also aim to empower them in protecting their lands and water resources, Gobi wildlife and the Gobi Desert ecosystem on the long-term with the unique goal to lead to a harmonious and sustainable coexistence between people and wildlife. 

Our approach with local communities of our project's areas for 2024 and beyond:

 

  • Outreach activities to bridge traditional environmental knowledge to scientific knowledge
  • Reinforce our partnership with our current local communities' members partners
  • Involve new local partners, including existing community-led wildlife and biodiversity conservation projects and more
  • Building environmental capacity to empower local communities in conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and sustainable environmental practices
  • Link our community-based conservation activities to sustainable, responsible and conservation tourism

to find together with local communities' members solutions to environmental problems to protect wildlife and their habitat and also lead to a sustainable use of lands and water sources for people and wildlife to thrive in harmony on the long-term. 

A Buddhist monastery and its community

The community of the buddhist monastery of the native mountain supports our actions and is actively involved in our conservation programme since 2008. Some members of this community regularly collect all year round some information about the ecology of the Mongolian khulan and other wild species (argali sheep, black-tailed gazelles, and other) in partnership with our research team. Also, two members of this community have been trained to use and set up camera traps and have sucessfully helped our team to collect information about water points use by Gobi wildlife. 

 

 

This monastery's community also plays a very crucial function in raising local awareness about protection of the Mongolian Khulan, Gobi wildlife and their habitat, as many local visitors visit this site every year, then making a bridge between Buddhism and nature protection in the Gobi Desert. 

 

 

This community is also involved in the community-based tourism activities that our organization runs in our study area.