Navigation Links
Catching camels in the Gobi
Date:11/11/2011

The range of the wild Bactrian camel (Camelus ferus) has been reduced to only three locations world-wide: two in China (Lop Nuur and Taklamakan desert) and one in Mongolia (Great Gobi A Specially Protected Area). The Great Gobi Protected Area was established in 1975 to protect a unique desert environment that is home to several rare or globally threatened mammal species, such as the wild Bactrian camel, the Gobi bear (Ursus arctos gobiensis), the snow leopard (Uncia uncia), the argali wild sheep (Ovis ammon) and the Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus). However, habitat deterioration due to increasing human demand for livestock pastures and water resources, illegal hunting, and recently also a marked increase in illegal placer mining (mining valuable minerals by washing or dredging activities) in the protected area region have become a conservation concern. "Increasing incidences of resource extraction in the area seriously jeopardize the integral protection of the camels and other species habitat," says Chris Walzer, a senior veterinary scientist at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology (FIWI) of the Veterinary Science University, Vienna, who has a long-standing landscape-level commitment to conservation research in the Gobi.

The wild Bactrian camel is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered. About 600 animals are estimated to remain in China and between 350 and 1,950 in the Great Gobi A protected area in Mongolia. It is difficult to estimate population size more precisely because of the remoteness and large size of the area, compounded by the inherent difficulty of estimating population size for low density "clumped" populations. There are large knowledge gaps relating to the movement patterns, habitat use, behaviour, ecology, population dynamics, and veterinary aspects of wild camels. One tool for finding out more about where they go and how they use their habitat is the use of GPS collars. This information is important for the development of appropriate conservation strategies. According to Chris Walzer, it is especially important to protect suspected migration routes between Mongolia and China. "But to do so, we first need to establish exactly where the camels tend to roam."

In October 2011, Chris Walzer and Gabrielle Stalder (FIWI) and their Mongolian colleagues were able to capture andcollar four wild camels. Both scientists are highly skilled and experienced in capturing and anaesthetizing wild animals for various bio-medical procedures, which can be a tricky and even dangerous undertaking. In this instance, the team spent two weeks living in tents and chasing after camels in 4x4 vehicles in this harsh and remote environment more than 1000 km from the capital Ulaanbaatar. Driving 250 km on bumpy roads and off-road across the stony desert can take as long as seven hours, and tracking camels in the huge area can be like finding a needle in a haystack. It took three days before the scientists spotted a group of camels. Once they caught sight of some camels, the team had to try to get close enough to dart individual camels on the run from the jeep, without causing the animals excessive stress before anaesthesia. Between October 2002 and June 2007, Chris Walzer and other scientists had radio-collared and monitored 7 free-ranging wild camels, but those collars are no longer operational and data from more individuals was urgently needed to reveal habitat and space use patterns. Now there are four more individuals whose GPS signal will provide essential locational data.

Prof. Walzer and Dr. Stalder were accompanied on this trip by Dr. Pamela Burger of the Institute of Population Genetics, Vetmeduni Vienna, who collected some genetic samples for the continuing analysis of relatedness between wild and domestic Bactrian camels and to help estimate the degree of hybridization inside the protected area. The genetic analysis is a long-term collaboration between scientists at the two institutes.The FIWI scientists efforts to study and conserve the desert habitat of these species are undertaken in partnership with Dr. Richard Reading of the Denver Zoo, and Adiya Yamasuran of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.


'/>"/>
Contact: Prof Chris Walzer
chris.walzer@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-148-909-15180
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Catching a breath -- wirelessly
2. Catching the West Nile virus in action
3. Catching calcium waves could provide Alzheimers insights
4. Catching a killer one spore at a time
5. Catching the common cold virus genome
6. Cancer gene therapy from camels
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2017)... -- Central to its deep commitment to honor the ... Prize Foundation today announced the laureates of the ... in their respective fields of Life Sciences and ... recognized with the 2017 Japan Prize for original ... the advancement of science and technology, but also ...
(Date:1/26/2017)... 2017  Crossmatch, a leading provider of security and ... at combatting fraud, waste and abuse in assistance operations ... Action on Disaster Relief conference in Panama ... agencies and foreign assistance organizations throughout Latin ... are a largely unacknowledged problem in the foreign assistance ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... PHILADELPHIA , Jan. 24, 2017  It ... a baby,s sock that monitors vital signs and ... instance, an infant,s oxygen saturation level drops. But ... undue alarm to parents, with no evidence of ... "These devices are marketed aggressively to parents of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... Feb. 24, 2017  Aethlon Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... by its Chairman and CEO, Jim Joyce . ... Security Conference last Saturday, Bill Gates warned ... more people than nuclear weapons. Mr. Gates expressed his ... intelligence agencies, that scientific terrorists have access to the ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... Inc. (NASDAQ: CBPO) ("China Biologic" or the "Company"), a leading ... financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year of ... Total sales in the fourth quarter of ... 13.6% in USD terms to $77.6 million from $68.3 million ... profit increased by 13.3% to $46.8 million from $41.3 million ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... BellBrook Labs is formalizing a ... array of biochemical analyses critical for Lead Discovery. The company’s Lead Discovery ... programs, including inhibitor potency and selectivity, mechanism of action, and inhibitor residence times ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Feb. 23, 2017  Imanis Life Sciences announced ... of oncolytic vaccinia viruses for virotherapy research. These ... of Genelux,s proprietary, vaccinia virus-based technology platform for ... enter into a partnership with Genelux to offer ... viruses for use in research," said Dr. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: