Deer at the Ger, South Mongolia
Five in the morning in the Gobi desert and we stopped at this family’s ger to get some airag. (Airag is the fermented mare’s milk.) I saw this fawn amongst the sheep but couldn’t get an explanation why.
Our vehicle, a problematic Chinese-brand Grand Tiger pick-up truck, ran out of diesel a hundred kilometers later and we were stranded for six or seven hours with only our delicious, alcoholic horse milk to nurture us.
A huge dust storm blowing south from the Gobi Desert into China. Photo taken by NASA’s Terra satellite March 9th.
I like how the camel’s winter fur is so thick, snow is just sitting on top of its hump, not melting.
A thirsty goat sneaks water from a washing machine. The herder family living here runs it with a generator.
The Snow Leopard Trust is partnered with Mongolian biologists to conduct a Long Term Ecological Study in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Mongolia is home to the second-largest population of snow leopards in the world.
F8 is one of the two leopards hiding behind her mom in the first motion-sensor camera photo, taken in 2009, and as a scruffy adolescent in 2010 in the second motion-sensor photo. Yesterday the Trust announced good news: F8 has her own cub this winter. Hooray for more snow leopards!
Researchers in China and Mongolia have published a preliminary article in Nature analyzing the genome of Bactrian camels. They are studying the genes that change most rapidly and set Bactrian camels apart from other camels. They have found a bunch of genes related to metabolism, glucose, salt and insulin, suggesting Bactrian camels digest food very weirdly. (Given that they can go weeks without food, and will eat tents and rope if they get hungry enough, I bet nobody is surprised.)
The researchers hope to gain new insights into how diabetes and salt/hypertension work in humans.
Camel picture from the Cincinatti Zoo.
Gobi desert, Mongolia. Photo by David duChemin. Part of a cool tutorial on digital photo adjustments.