In the distance, Mongolia’s Tsagaan Suvarga – The White Cliffs. In the foreground, a camel skull. A zud (harsh winter) can wipe out hundreds of thousands or even millions of livestock. And yet a hardy breed of people thrive here and in a land where humans and their herds of animals have coexisted with nature for millennia, wild animals are surprisingly abundant.
As we continued our journey south, the land unfolding before us bore little resemblance to what we had imagined the Gobi would be like. Throughout the journey, our van passed through nearly endless mixed flocks of passerines – wheatears, larks, buntings and sparrows. Eagles, hawks, ravens and vultures soared overhead. And there were times when gazelle seemed to be everywhere.
Initially, we had no idea what to expect from the domesticated Bactrian camels we encountered, so we approached with caution. As it turned out, they were even-tempered and in some cases not opposed to having…
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