Large Herbivore Foundation joint the coalition of government bodies, civil society organisations, and business companies to established together the lead in communication on biodiversity: Coalitie Biodiversiteit 2010 (Coalition on Biodiversity 2010). Many activities willtake place throughout the year. The Coalition took off on 4 November 2009 at an event called Hoogste tijd voor Biodiversiteit (High Time for Biodiversity).
November 2009. The saiga antelope - one of the world's most threatened mammals has been hunted to the brink of extinction. Now conservationists, led by Government of Kazakhstan in partnership with the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan (ACBK), the RSPB and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), are giving this Central Asian antelope and its diverse steppe habitat renewed hope.
250 endangered Mountain gazelles found in Turkey – First record in Turkey
Hundreds of Mongolian gazelles die in barbed wire border barriers
At this very moment hundreds of Mongolian gazelles are caught and die in the 2-meter high barbed wire barriers on the border of Russia and Eastern Mongolia. At least 70.000 Mongolian gazelles have concentrated recently on the border of Mongolia and Russia in their search for food and water.
Because of continuing droughts in Eastern Mongolia, the animals are migrating to the north, hoping to find food and water in Russia/Dauria. From their long journey over hundreds of kilometres, the animals are already much weakened, when running in to the border barriers. (Barriers that in fact are mainly meant to prevent cross border cattle theft!)
With help of the Russian army and border patrol, Russian rangers, supported by WWF RU, are making temporary openings/corridors in the border fencing over a length of 40 km, to create a safe passage for the gazelles. Also drinking water and supplementary food is provided, together with pens for wounded animals.
The Mongolian gazelle is a migrating species, living in herds of tens of thousands of animals, moving over great distances in the Asian steppes, originally in a vast area, covering all of Mongolia, and adjacent areas in Russia and China. The mass migrations of the Mongolian gazelle, are a unique phenomena, comparable only to the migrations still occurring in Africa. Because of increasing border barriers (Mongolia/Russia/China) and increase in - fenced out - infrastructure like railroads (e.g. Trans Siberia line Russia/Mongolia to Beijing), the essential seasonal migration of Mongolian gazelle becomes harder and almost impossible. The extreme droughts in Eastern Mongolia, this early in the season, may be due to predicted climate change that will have major consequences for the steppe ecosystem and Mongolian wildlife.
LHF has been collaborating with other parties over the last years to find structural solutions and sustainable protection for the endangered Mongolian gazelle. Besides protected areas (like Daurskii Zapovednik, RU; Eastern Step reserves, MN), unrestricted seasonal- and climate migration should be guaranteed, e.g. in creating controlled corridors for gazelles to cross the borders.
The Mongolian gazelle has declined sharply during the last decades. From some 1.5 million in mid 20e century (ranging Mongolia, Russia and NE China), only 500.000 remain nowadays, limited to E. Mongolia and adjacent Russia. In Russia the species got extinct in the seventies, by over hunting, poaching and competition with domestic cattle. Since 1993, when a group of Mongolian gazelles migrated (!) to Dauria, the species is back in Russia. Thanks to strict protection measures the population has now increased to over 1000 animals.
The Large Herbivore Foundation was the first international Conservation NGO to give financial support. In 2002, LHF together with WWF Mongolia convinced the Mongolian government to stop the devastating commercial hunting in the eastern steppes, in which thousands of Mongolian gazelles were killed in winter in just a few days time. Since then the population is recovering and migrations in the direction of Russia (and China) occur more often.
Joining the first group of 3 bison in the Kraansvlak coastal dune area near Haarlem, the Netherlands. This bison pilot-project in a fenced area, is meant to get the knowledge and experience, in preparation of to a ‘real’ reintroduction project of bison in Holland in connection to the Oostvaardersplassen nature / ecological restoration area in central Flevoland. LHF is advisor to the project, which includes international cooperation in research (also with LHF network members) on habitat/range use, food preference.