~ Guidebook Introduction ~


Impressive, maze-like rocky outcrops punctuate the otherwise stark landscape of the desert-steppe in northwestern Dornogobi Aimag. This gorgeous region supports a unique community of life in a region protected within the confines of Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, or Ikh Nart for short. Here Argali sheep (Ovis ammon) and Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica) take advantage of the protection afforded by the rough terrain to persist in relatively large numbers.

They must share their grazing lands with species more typical of the surrounding desert-steppe, such as Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa) and goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), and with the domestic livestock of nomadic pastoralists. Permanent and ephemeral cold water springs emanate from the heads of several valleys in Ikh Nart, further increasing the reserve's attractiveness to wild and domestic grazing animals. These sources of water also attract a wide diversity of migrating birds in spring and autumn.

The reserve also draws in a wide variety of raptors that make use of the geographic relief for nesting. More common nesting raptors in Ikh Nart include Saker Falcons (Falco cherrug), Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus), Black Kites (Milvus migrans), Upland Buzzards (Buteo hemilasius), Golden and Steppe Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos and Aquila rapax, respectively), and particularly large nesting aggregations of Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus), Little Owls (Athene noctua), and Lesser Kestrels (Falco naumanni).

Lying only about a 1 hour drive from the railway line that connects Ulaanbaatar with Beijing and only about 2 to 2.5 hours from the paved road that connects Choyr to Ulaanbaatar, Ikh Nart is fairly easy to access (by Mongolian standards!). Yet, visitation to the park remains low, dominated primarily by people from nearby towns.


© 2006 ECO Nature Edition, Steinhauer-Burkart OHG

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