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Closed Mongolian Khulan (Wild Ass) protection

A project from Association GOVIIN KHULAN
in southeast Gobi, Mongolia

Mongolian wild ass protection and biodiversity conservation - information and education to nature and Mongolian wild ass protection - local people involvement - local cooperation - community development

Anne-Camille S.
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About this project

The objectives of the Association GOVIIN KHULAN ( are to:
1) enhance protection of the endangered Mongolian Khulan,
2) improve relations between khulans and humans,
3) cooperate with local researchers, specialists and rangers for wildlife and biodiversity conservation and natural ressources management,
4) provide training support to students, rangers and people for research on the Mongolian Khulan,
5) provide technical support to rangers and people involved in our project to monitor khulans, collect samples, record information, and raise awareness for this species and its habitat protection,
6) inform and educate local people to protect this endangered species and its habitat,
7) implement a community project where local families will be trained to create hande-made products to sell in Ulaanbaatar (capital city of Mongolia) and in Europe and will be involved in eco-tours that GOVIIN KHULAN will organize.

The Mongolian wild ass or “Khulan” (Equus hemionus hemionus) is listed in the IUCN Red List as “Endangered”, in Appendix I of the CITES, and in Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. Southern Mongolia currently holds the largest population of Asiatic wild ass in the world, representing almost 80% of the global population. However, this population is at risk due to illegal hunting and numbers have declined significantly from an estimated population size of about 43,000 individuals in 1997 to an estimated population size of about 18,000 individuals in 2003. Off-take for the illegal meat trade is estimated at 3,000 individuals per year. If illegal hunting continues in Mongolia, then the potential decline of this important population will be 5 to 10 percent per year.

Main threats affecting Mongolian wild ass' survival are:
- illegal hunting for meat and skin with use of some organs in traditional medicine;
- habitat degradation through human settlements, resource extraction such as mining (legal and illegal mining), and possibly though grazing by increasing numbers of domestic livestock;
- a possible competition with livestock to access to natural resources that are limited in the Gobi area and and conflicts between herders and Mongolian khulans, with nomadic Mongolian herdsmen claiming that Mongolian khulans are damaging pastures and ground and prevent livestock access to water sources and grasses.