Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, Dornogobi Aimag, Mongolia — This magnificent region of semi-arid grasslands and rocky outcrops is one of the best hopes for wildlife in central Asia. Argali sheep, lesser kestrels, cinereous vultures, and other animals threatened throughout their range find a stronghold here. Herds of graceful Mongolian gazelles and goitered gazelles roam freely through the reserve. For the past several years, Earthwatch teams have worked to study and conserve the area's wildlife, including the "near-threatened" argali—the largest mountain sheep in the world with huge, curling horns. Their efforts have been so successful that results from the work have been used to develop improved conservation management policies in the reserve, and the research team has expanded their studies to include several other species. You can help an international team of scientists explore the lives of a broad range of wildlife in this semiarid refuge.
Meet the Scientists
Ganchimeg Wingard (Gana) is the Mongolia program director at the DZF. She holds two master’s degrees, one from Prague University in environmental science and the most recent (2005) in wildlife ecology from the University of Montana, where she studied argali and domestic livestock feeding relationships at Ikh Nart. A Mongolian national, Gana is a resident of Denver, Colorado and speaks fluent English. She has experience leading ecotours in Mongolia.
Dr. Rich Reading
Denver Zoological Foundation
Dr. Richard P. Reading (Rich) is the vice president for conservation at the Denver Zoological Foundation (DZF) and adjunct professor at the University of Denver. He holds a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and three master’s degrees from Yale University, as well as a B.S. from Trinity College (Hartford), and performed additional study at the Duke University Marine Laboratory. He has worked in Mongolia since 1994 on a variety of conservation projects and is an avid birder.
Dr. David Kenny
Dr. David Kenny (Dave) is the conservation veterinary coordinator at the DZF and received his veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He has extensive experience in exotic animal immobilization and health and has handled the veterinary aspects of the project since 2000. He has been involved in all studies that are part of our project. He primarily assist with animal captures and handling.
John Azua is the Curator of Birds for the Denver Zoo and has extensive experience with a wide variety of bird species. He has worked on conservation projects in Mexico, the US, and Mongolia since 2007, and will be present during Team 3.
Mary Jo Willis
Mary Jo Willis is the bird supervisor at the Denver Zoo. She has experience working on several species and has conducted research in Chile, South Africa, the U.S., and Mongolia. She has been working on the raptor project since 2005.
Selenge Tuvdendorj is the executive director of the Mongolian Conservation Cooperative and has experience working on a wide variety of conservation initiatives. She speaks fluent German and English. Selenge will facilitate all aspects of all expeditions.