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Mongolia Environment and Nature News
The good and bad news on nature in Mongolia. The prestine nature of Mongolia is more and more under threat of the challenges of modernities.

Conference on Ozone Depleting Substances held in Mongolia PDF Print E-mail
Nature and Environment
Monday, 02 July 2007

Image Delegated from eleven countries gathered in Mongolia Thursday to review enforcement of the Montreal Protocol, which calls for combating the use of Ozone Depleting Substances, called ODS. 

The conference was mainly attended by Asian-Pacific nations, as well as a few European countries. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol. 

The Ulaanbaatur conference focused on working to halt the illegal use and trade of ODS and seeking environmentally friendly alternatives for governments to promote. 

Since the Montreal Protocol was created, 150 countries have signed the treaty, including China. 


Image source: http://www.jpd.co.uk/intouch/wp-content/ozone.jpg

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Vulture from Mongolia, lost in Thailand, denied permission for return PDF Print E-mail
Nature and Environment
Friday, 11 May 2007
A Mongolian vulture, stranded in Thailand, has been denied permission to be flown back to its native country. 

The cinereous vulture, also called a black or monk vulture, was discovered in southwest Thailand in December. It apparently had become separated from its flock and had become emaciated from lack of food. 

Thai veterinarians nursed the young vulture, which weighs 18 pounds, back to health on a diet of pork legs and rotten meat. Its current wingspan has grown to over nine feet. 

To return the bird to its Mongolian home without its flock to lead the way, authorities decided to send it by air on Thai Airways. However, strict rules put in place to prevent the spread of lethal bird flu meant the plane could not land in China or South Korea prior to arriving in Mongolia. 

Thai officials have since encouraged the Mongolian vulture to fly off with Thai vultures. However, they are not optimistic the bird will survive outside of Mongolia.

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In meeting with Enkhbayar, Russia offers to build Mongolian nuclear power plants PDF Print E-mail
Nature and Environment
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Russia has announced its willingness to build nuclear power plants in Mongolia.  

During a one day visit to Ulaanbaatar, Sergei Kirienko, head of the Russian Nuclear Agency, said Russia was prepared to share its nuclear technology by building either high capacity or low capacity nuclear power plants in Mongolia. 

"Russia is prepared to help Mongolia to construct a nuclear power plant of any capacity,” noted Kirienko. 

Following a meeting with Kirienko, Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar said,

“The issue of developing energy technology was included in Mongolia’s National Development Plan until 2021. One of modern Ulaanbaatara’s most serious and ongoing problems has been the massive air pollution caused by its coal burning plants. This requires us to find a new source of energy, and that’s why we are prepared to work with Russia [to develop nuclear energy in Mongolia]”.

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Dutch monitoring system protects the grasslands in Mongolia PDF Print E-mail
Nature and Environment
Sunday, 06 May 2007

ULAANBAATAR, 20070505 -- In Ulaanbaatar the Dutch company EARS installed its energy and water assessment monitoring system (EWBMS). The system receives hourly satellite data and provides daily information on dryness, frost and biomass in the vaste steppe of Mongolia. By insight in the carrying capacity of these grasslands, better decisions can be made concerning moving and possible slaughter of cattle. In this way the system can be a contribution to the prevention of calamities like in the period 2000-2002, when one third of the livestock died by dry summers followed by extreme harsh winters.

Mongolia is forty times as large as the Netherlands with only 2.5 million inhabitants. The country has an agraricultural economy, traditionally based on nomadic livestock-farming. THE EWBMS will be used by agencies under the Ministry of Nature & Environment to monitor the grass growth and to prevent overgrazing, which would lead to desertification. 

The Dutch system provides daily maps displaying temperature, radiation, precipitate and vaporisation of the complete territory. These are generated by the Chinese FY2c satellite, of which the data are received and edited every hour. In addition products are developed which give information concerning dryness, the increase of the grass and the quantity of cattle which would be able to graze. Because in the winter cattle lives outside and has to find its food from underneath the snow, also the cross-section of the snow layer and the possible presence of an ice layer are determined.

The system was inaugurated today by State Secretary Enkhmandakh. He said that Mongolia gives a high priority to improvement of the provision of information by means of nature observation. He praised the cooperation between the Mongolian institutes and the Dutch consortium, existing of Haskoning (Nijmegen), EARS (Delft), ITC (enschede) and Hofung (The Hague, Beijing). Also he pronounced its appreciation for the Dutch government who supports the project financially.

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Biobeer: Spatial Ecology of the Manul (Otocolobus manul) in Central Mongolia PDF Print E-mail
Nature and Environment
Tuesday, 01 May 2007
This month's biobeers talk will be given by Steve Ross (PhD student). The title is "Spatial Ecology of the Manul (Otocolobus manul) in Central Mongolia"

The spatial ecology of the manul (Otocolobus manul) was studied in Central Mongolia from August 2005 to April 2007. The study's objectives are to relate spatial patterns and behaviour to current and potential threats to the species' conservation in the wild. A total of 27 manuls (12 male, 15 females) have been radio-collared and their positions tracked using radio-telemetry every 3-4 days. Telemetry has also been used to understand reasons for mortality, activity patterns, behaviour and resource utilisation. The findings of preliminary data analyses are presented and related to factors potentially influencing manul behaviour; namely season, refugia, the distribution of prey and other carnivore species.


May's Biobeers will be held this week on Thursday 3rd of May at Sweet Cafe. This is located behind the Information and Technological National Park and next to the Admon Printing Company, west of Internom Bookstore Building. As usual, people are requested to arrive after 6pm, in time for the talk to start at 6.30. 

Biobeers is a monthly gathering of government and NGO staff, biologists, researchers, and other professionals interested in conservation. Each month, Biobeers sponsors a half-hour presentation on a topic relevant to Mongolian conservation, followed by an informal gathering to discuss activities and issues of interest. Biobeers is an opportunity to find out what is happening in the field of conservation in Mongolia, talk informally to other researchers and peers in your field, and share information about issues critical to the environment and people of Mongolia. Biobeers is organised by the Zoological Society of London's Steppe Forward Programme and sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society. At Biobeers the beer is on us!

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Number of Motor Vehicles is Growing in Mongolia PDF Print E-mail
Nature and Environment
Wednesday, 25 April 2007
By the end of 2006 there were 141 469 vehicles in Mongolia according to the report from the State Research Center. (95 115 cars and 29 443 trucks).A year before this number was 131.184.

In the capital city , there are 79 540 vehicles and 58 541 of them are the cars.

And even in the rural areas. The latest report from Orkhon aimag shows that the number of vehicles in province has grown for more than 800 cars at the first quarter of this year. And there are about 7300 vehicles on the aimag's traffic routs by the Province Traffic Police Department report. It means 1 car for 10 people.

One of the biggest resources of air pollution – vehicles in our country are quite old ones : more then 50% are used for more than 11 years, 30% for 7-10 years. Last year 31 122 vehicles were imported , which means the number has grown for 11 thousand cars since the previous year.


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Earth Day in Mongolia: Onggi River Movement receives Award PDF Print E-mail
Nature and Environment
Monday, 23 April 2007

The Asia Foundation and TheGoldman Environmental Prize announced today that Tsetsge Munkhbayar ofMongolia, founder of a mass citizen's movement to protect Mongolia'snational waterways, has won a 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize -- the largest accolade in the world for grassroots environmentalists. The $125,000 annual award recognizes outstanding individuals who are combating pressing environmental challenges and was created to allow these people to continue their important work. A current grantee of The Asia Foundation's San Francisco-based Environment Program, Mr. Munkhbayar is the only Asian recipient, among five awardees. He will be awarded the prize at an invitation-only ceremony on Monday, April 23 at 5:00 p.m. at the San Francisco Opera House.

Mr. Munkhbayar, 40, successfully pressured 35 of 37 mining operations working in Mongolia's Onggi River basin -- a precious drinking water supply for rural Mongolians -- to permanently stop harmful, ruinous mining and exploration activities. Beginning in 2001, and with a volunteer staff of more than 2,000 people, Mr. Munkhbayar's Onggi River Movement organized multi- province roundtable discussions and launched high-profile radio and television campaigns to build public awareness. Then, in 2006, he inspired the creation of the Mongolia Nature Protection Coalition -- a collective of eleven separate river movements in Mongolia actively fighting destructive mining, forestry, tourism, and agriculture activities. "Munkhbayar was chosen because of the huge impact he has had on the issue of responsible mining and water protection in Mongolia. Not only has he worked with governmental leaders in crafting appropriate legislation, but he has also made it a point to continue educating the public about their water resources and their democratic right to have a voice in protecting them," said Richard N. Goldman, founder of the prize. "His award acknowledges his vision and personal risk." "The health of Asia's environment is fundamental to the health of all its citizens," said Doug Bereuter, president of The Asia Foundation. "As a grantee, Mr. Munkhbayar epitomizes our long-standing commitment to empowering people and organizations on the grassroots-level to creating a healthful, prosperous Asia. We congratulate and commend him on this significant award and his lasting work." About The Asia Foundation's Support to Mr. Munkhbayar Beginning in early 2006, The Asia Foundation supported the creation of the Mongolia Nature Protection Coalition with financial grants and technical assistance, such as workshops in organizational management. The Foundation's first grant to Mr. Munkhbayar and the Onggi River Movement was made in 2004.

Asia Foundation in Mongolia

The Asia Foundation's new environmental initiative in Mongolia addresses responsible resource use by supporting a strong coalition of citizen activists to advocate for increased transparency and accountability in environmental decision-making, and to promote public awareness and civic engagement in environmental issues. The Foundation facilitates constructive public, private, and NGO sector dialogue on environmental policy and legal formulation, on the enforcement of laws and regulations, transparent licensing and permitting, and on oversight which includes community and student engagement in water quality monitoring. By facilitating open, participatory, and productive discussions between stakeholders, the Foundation is promoting environmentally responsible mining and resource use that protects human and environmental health, and fuels economic development and prosperity. In addition, the Foundation is supporting the development of new markets for "green" gold and other metal and minerals products from Mongolia with cross-sector stakeholders.

The Foundation is also engaging citizens and students to collect environmental data through a pilot watershed-monitoring network comprising of citizens, government, industry, and teachers.


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Fires cause damage of USD1.5 million PDF Print E-mail
Nature and Environment
Monday, 09 April 2007
Ulaanbaatar, /MONTSAME/. Nine forest and steppe fires have occurred on the national scale since January 1. The first one in Myangad soum of Khovd aimag burnt up the reed on 60 hectares. Large parts of forests disappeared and great damage caused by other fires occurred in Darkhan-Uul, Bulgan, Selenge, Khovsgol, Ovorkhangai and Tov provinces. It was revealed that the fire in Khankh soum of Khovsgol aimag was set up by the Russian citizen. "The forests take only eight percent of our territory," say related organizations and warn everybody that any fire must not outbreak into large one. Last year, a total of 164 fires occurred in Mongolia. As a result, 0,392 million hectares of forests and 5.2 million hectares of pastures were burnt up, and 1.7 billion togrogs damage was caused. The ministry of Environment delivered official assignment to rural environmental services to clearly determine the ecological damage of forests, suffered from fires, and make guilty parties bear responsibility.


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