Breathtaking trip to the Gobi Desert

Together with our Foundation Board member Prof. Dr. Hannes Knapp and our Mongolian partners, we have been to Mongolia twice this year alone for a total of four weeks.

After traveling to the Small Gobi in June of this year, we have now also crossed the two protected areas Great Gobi A and B. We spent almost three weeks traveling through the largest protected areas in the world and gaining an impression of the state of the habitats and species. We also aimed to assess potentially damaging influences and planned infrastructure measures.

Finding near-natural and undisturbed habitats in such an extensive area, fully developed vegetation that is practically unheard of in the mostly overgrazed areas of the steppes, savannahs, prairies and deserts of this world, seeing tracks of the last estimated 50 gobi bears and evening encounters with the extremely shy wild camels made a deep impression on our international expedition group. And strengthened our resolve that these last undisturbed and extensive natural areas urgently need to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

And we can already take credit for one major success within the project. At the end of October, we received positive news from the Mongolian government that three more protected areas that were previously not on the World Heritage nomination list will now be included. One of these is the "Small Gobi A" protected area. This is home to 80% of the world's population of the endangered Asian wild ass alone. We promoted this at our working meeting with the Mongolian Ministry of the Environment and prepared the technical basis.

The project is funded by the Advisory Assistance Program (AAP) in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia as well as in other neighbouring countries of the European Union. It is managed by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

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