The Arabian camel is not hard to find. The one-humped beasts are popular props in photo ops from Manama to Marrakesh and are a cheap source of labor for the natives.
Its cousin, the two-humped camel, is much more difficult to see outside of a zoo. Once a common fixture all over Central Asia as late as the 1920s, the Bactrian camel is now a highly endangered species and the only examples living in the wild are found in two small nature reserves in the Gobi Desert. About 450 Bactrian camels survive in Mongolia, and about 600 in Northern China. This makes them less numerous than the giant panda.
Global Rescue is happy to sponsor a group of explorers who will set off to study the hairy two-humped beasts in their habitat. The expedition to the reserve will be led by conservationist John Hare, who founded the Wild Camel Protection Foundation in 1997 (http://www.wildcamels.com/) after securing land from the government of Mongolia. There are at least five other highly endangered large species in the area including the Gobi bear.
After a three-day ride over very rough roads, the group will reach a breeding center near the Mongolian reserve established by Hare to help sustain the species. They will then mount domestic Bactrian camels to ride for two days to reach the reserve. Temperature extremes are the norm in Mongolia and the variance at that time of the year ranges from the 90s (Farenheit) in the day to the high 30s at night.
“To get some idea of how remote that is,” the expedition’s medical director, Michael Manyak said, “consider that Mongolia has 1.2 million people and a million of them live in the capital Ulaan Baatar. The other 200,000 are spread around an area almost three times the size of Texas. We don’t expect much traffic out there.”
Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world.
These Explorers Club members are highly appreciative of the support from Global Rescue. “Medical evacuation preparation and coverage is imperative in this type of environment where there are no medical resources,” said Dr. Manyak. “We hope we don’t need them but, if we do, we know that Global Rescue has our backs.”