New agreement with Mongolian Government
Thursday 19 April 2007
ZSL has signed an agreement with the Mongolian Government during the Mongolian President’s state visit to the UK to work to conserve the unique wildlife which has undergone catastrophic declines over the last 15 years.
The agreement was signed at Asia House, London, by Dr Glyn Davies (ZSL) and Dr B. Enkhmandakh the Vice-Minister for Ministry Of Nature and Environment of the Mongolian Government during a meeting of businesses and investors interested in Mongolia. The country is showing rapid economic development and an increasingly more effective parliamentary democracy but one cost of this is to the environment and biodiversity.
Dr Glyn Davies, Conservation Programme Director of ZSL, commented, “The Zoological Society of London is delighted to have agreed this vital understanding, which will be fundamental in the ongoing work to conserve Mongolia’s precious fauna and flora. The relationship between ZSL and the Mongolian Government and other institutions was cemented last year with the joint production of national Red Lists and Action Plans for mammals and fish, and this accord will strengthen the ability and resolve of the partners for the future.”
Since the early 1990s, Mongolian wildlife, in particular large mammals, has suffered dramatically as a result of increased poaching, environmental degradation and climate change. Species that are currently experiencing major declines include the red deer, snow leopard, Asiatic wild ass, Siberian musk deer and argali sheep. The population declines have been extremely rapid, as is evidenced by the 92 percent decline of red deer over 18 years.
Many species, such as the Mongolian saiga, wild camel or Gobi bear, have been restricted to such small populations that they are highly threatened. It is estimated that there are only 460 wild camels in Mongolia and less than 1,000 globally. The Gobi bear is even more threatened with less than 50 individuals remaining. Overall, 79 percent of large herbivores and 12 percent of carnivores in Mongolia are now threatened with extinction. Fishes are less well known, but 11 of the 64 species are believed to be at risk of extinction, including the Siberian sturgeon and the taimen.
Jargal Jamsramjav, Director of ZSL’s Steppe Forward Programme (SFP) in Mongolia, said: “This agreement clearly demonstrates the great significance that both the Mongolian government and international conservation charity ZSL attach to Mongolia’s biodiversity and represents a long-term commitment to its protection.”