Conservation Issues

Read about:

The leading Cuases for Animals to become Endangered

Conservation Issues in Mongolia

  1. Deforestation
  2. Pasture Degradation and Desertification
  3. Hunting and Wildlife trade
  4. Industrial Mining
  5. Artisanal and small-scale mining
  6. Water Shortages and Climate Change
  7. Disease and disease management
  8. Crop Agriculture
  9. Linear infrastructure 
  10. Hydroelectric power:
  11. Water Pollution:
  12. Tourism:
  13. Fire







Issues in Mongolia pt 2.

It used to be all green
It used to be all green

Industrial Mining

Direct impacts of mining operations on the health of ecosystems and people are numerous. Habitat loss in the relatively small area mined is the most obvious threat to biodiversity, at least during the life of the mine (restoration is often a part of mine closure but the value of this is questionable). Noise and dust increase the size of the site impact, making life inhospitable for many plants and animals. Conversely, food refuse from workers can attract or enhance wildlife such as ravens, which when not scavenging garbage heaps will feed on eggs, birds and other small animals, many of which are endangered. Workers and their families cut trees and bushes for fuel, including rare elm and saxual trees, and also collect medicinal herbs to such an extent that certain species have become locally extinct.

In a country where water is precious, many mining operations, especially placer gold mines, overuse surface water and aquifers, and/or pollute these with uncontrolled discharges of slurry and tailings, with the end results being less clean water for people and wildlife (World Bank 2006b).


Indirect impacts of mining may be the greatest threats to biodiversity in the sector. Roads and rail built to transport ore/coal can effectively divide formerly contiguous populations of terrestrial wildlife, especially in the case of railroads which are often fenced to reduce the risk of train derailment. Both transport types result in “roadkill” and fenced rail in the Eastern Steppe kills hundreds if not thousands of Mongolian gazelle each year. Wild ass, Goitered gazelle and Mongolian gazelle are present in current and planned mining sites. Roads and rail are not barriers to movement for birds but transmission lines result in electrocution and fatal collisions.

Four million hectares of critical natural habitat is included within mining exploration licenses, so the potential for biodiversity loss from exploration and eventual exploitation is growing.

'ninja' mining
'ninja' mining

Artisanal and small-scale mining

Small-scale mining operations for gold have in recent years become the primary livelihood for an estimated 30,000 to 100,000 people (World Bank 2006b). These so-called “ninja” miners (the pans and shovels they carry on their backs make them resemble the comic book characters “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) operate without regulation or appropriate social and environmental safeguards. Once insignificant, artisanal mining has become a main income source for people without other options, including herders who have lost their herds due to drought or dzuds (World Bank 2006b)

The presence of thousands of miners in unplanned settlements along rivers and streams creates an infectious disease risk for people and wildlife (World Bank 2006b). Mercury is widely used by artisanal placer and hard-rock gold miners to separate gold from ore, even though this use was banned in 1982 and low-cost gravitational methods could be applied to achieve the same result (World Bank 2006b). Mercury is a toxin for people and wildlife, which bioaccumulates up the food chain in fish and consumers of fish, and causes a range of effects, from neurological problems to reduced fertility and development problems to death (EPA 2010). Air pollution from uncontrolled burning of rubber tires to melt permafrost poisons people and wildlife with compounds such as carbon monoxide, benzene and cyanide (World Bank 2006b).

Dried up river in UB
Dried up river in UB

Water Shortages and Climate Change

Temperatures have gone up 2.1 C and precipitation has dropped 7% in the last 60 years.

Partly as a result of increased air temperatures, water censuses conducted by the government have found that many rivers, marshlands, and lakes are drying up, resulting in degradation and loss of habitat for many fish and bird species (MNET 2009). A recent analysis found that 852 rivers, 1181 lakes, and 2277 springs have gone dry due to poor resource management (MNET 2009), including loss of forest and the operations of mines.

The combination of increased temperatures and decreased summer precipitation has resulted in a 20 to 30 percent decrease in rangeland productivity over the last four decades. Other contributors to pasture degradation include increased overall numbers of livestock, and a relative increase in goats compared with cattle and sheep due to market demands for cashmere.


A Mongolian group to save their rivers is here:


foot and mouth disease
foot and mouth disease

Disease and disease management

While diseases such as avian influenza (AI) and foot and mouth disease(FMD) have direct impacts on water birds and wild ungulates like Mongolian and Goitered gazelle, the management response to these epizootic diseases can be much worse than the disease itself. Worldwide, epidemics of AI and FMD have led to widespread slaughter of animals (wild and domestic) in order to minimize economic impacts to the agriculture.


Mongolians blame the wildlife for (FMD) and slaughter any potentially infected wildlife.  


Rather than killing wildlife to protect livestock from (FMD), evidence indicates that most places where (FMD) has been eradicated from livestock, it has also disappeared from wildlife (Thomson et al 2003).

destructive farming
destructive farming

Crop Agriculture

Mongolia contains the largest expanse of intact temperate grasslands in the world, with never more than one percent of the total land area under cultivation. Production has declined about 70 percent since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 and the end of collective farming (and efficiencies provided by fertilizers and technology), moving Mongolia from near self-sufficiency in cereals to importing about 40 percent, a major food security issue. In response, the Mongolian government announced in early 2008 the “Third Crop Campaign,” to be implemented from 2008 to 2010 with a goal of intensifying development of arable land and creating the legal and economic conditions for farming and eliminating dependence on imports (Didier and Lkhamjav 2009).

This campaign and plans to develop crop-based agriculture in general, threaten biodiversity in a number of ways:

(1) habitat conversion;

(2) reduced water availability;

(3) land degradation through desertification and erosion;

(4) species mortality through pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers;

(5) introduction of invasive species; and

(6) fragmentation of habitat and migration routes due to fences and transport networks (Didier and Lkhamjav 2009).

Even if the area directly impacted by cultivation is initially small, the indirect effects can be substantial.

Of course this is not as bad as the factory farming of USA. And the disgusting cruelty the animals are exposed to. Such unhealthy meat to eat.

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Issues in Mongolia



inventory of 2007, about 19 million hectares or 12.1 percent of national territory is forested,

Illegal logging continued to be rampant, with very little capacity for law enforcement within local governments.

Between 1990 and 2007, 6.47 million hectares was damaged by fire, mostly caused by people. In 2006 alone, 391.8 thousand hectares of forest in the vicinity of Ulaanbaatar was destroyed or damaged

Mongolian Forest Ranger
Mongolian Forest Ranger

Additionally the people who are in charge of protecting the forest; the Forest Rangers, are severely neglected by the government.

-          The Rangers lives are endangered by the illegal loggers who are desperate for this source of income. 

-          The Rangers have to spend long periods away from their families in difficult living conditions

-          And they are compensated with the lowest wages for government jobs at 200,000 per month(~$150 USD)


Pasture Degradation and Desertification

Mongolia is a country that highly relies on livestock:

-          An increased demand for Cashmere has resulted in an increase in goat composition.

Goats have a higher impact on the environment then other livestock because they eat a wider variety of plants, including eating young trees

-          Sheep cut the grass down so low that it can often not grow back.

-          Climate change as resulted in accelerated desertification

-          As habitat is lost, wildlife and livestock compete for resources and foreign invasive species are introduced into new habitats.


  • ·         The Dzud (great winter storms) kill off large numbers of livestock so herders try to mazamize herd size to compensate
  • ·         Livestock impact on wetlands is more severe: they trample nesting habitat for critically endangered birds like the White-naped crane (Grus vipio) and often destroy eggs, while dung in small lakes leads to eutrophication (algal blooms which consume available oxygen) and reduced food for swan geese (Anser cygnoides) and other waterbirds
  • ·        

Hunting and Wildlife trade

Honey Bee
Honey Bee

Bees: Bees like many other insects, could be classified as some of the most important creatures because they are responsible for plant pollination. (Over 80% of the worlds flowering plants. That’s how plants reproduce.

Due to climate change, pesticides, and destruction of habitat the bee’s are having many problems. But the bees kept by bee keepers could be worse off. The beekeepers steal their honey, as honey is in high demand not only for taste but also health benefits. And the bees are instead given high fructose corn syrup! What happens if you feed a lot of high fructose corn syrup? Look at Americans and you will see! That why there are so many FAT AMERICANS! Infact in developed countries the 3 leading causes of death come from smoking, drinking, and Eating!

If the honey bee dies out, there will be a lot worse problems like famine and hunger. As plant will no longer reproduce providing the fruits and seeds that other animals and people love to eat.

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Endangered Creatures

The three leading causes of Animals becoming endangered are


1- Habitat loss- 100 years ago there were 1.5Billion people now there are 7 Billion people in the world. Animals need homes for food and shelter just as people do. But as people continue to destroy natural habitats, for cities, roads, farm land, factories, ext… there are less places for the animals to go and less food sources. Some animals lose their homes and lives before they are even given a name


2- Pollution- Animals need clean air, food, and water. But human factories, power plants, traffic emissions, oil spills, pesticides, littering, ect… all pollute and poison these things hurting all animals (including humans) health. Resulting in death, abnormalities, lower birth rate, and climate change.

Additionally introduction of foreign species can also destroy and poison an area.

         -For example a plant that takes all the resources from other plants so this plant dies out and the animals lose a food source (ex Japan, America)

         -Or South American scientist experiment on frogs brought in from Africa. A frog got lose and released a foreign pathogen in the population, but they have no immunity against it. So large populations are dying off

        -Or in Hawaii, the birds used to nest on the grounds. But as people came they brought rats and mongoose which ate the eggs. Now these birds are endangered or extinct (like the Dodo of Madagascar)


3-Hunting – Rarely for survival but for Money, Cruelty, and Vanity.

-So people can wear their fur/skin (leopards/Pythons).

-Have ornaments and Jewelry ( More than 100,000elephants are killed a year),

-Hang their heads on their wall (gorillas/Deer).

-Or to pretend it’s a tradition (Whaling)

-Or overuse in folk medicine (Rhino/ Saiga horns, Tiger paw).

-Or to ware their scents (Musk Deer)

-Or even as pets (parrots, falcons, monkeys) But only about 1 out of 5 survive being captured in the wild to becoming a pet

-Or because we steal their land and food source and then kill them when they try to come back (Wolves/Bears)




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