December 13, 2019
Wild Ass Selfies
- as seen by -Chris Walzer
The Mongolian Gobi supports the largest remaining population of the threatened Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus; locally called “khulan”). Individual khulan roam over tens of thousands of square miles every year tracking good pasture and water. Their movements are among the largest described for terrestrial mammals. In order to gain a greater insight into the life of the khulan, we anesthetized an adult female in the southeastern Mongolian Gobi and outfitted her with a camera tracking collar.
This female khulan shot photos over a period of 12 months. After a year, the collar was automatically released and subsequently recovered by our field team. The khulan, accompanied by her foal, ranged over 8,570 square miles (about the size of Massachusetts) and shot 8,719 photos (a selection, above), providing a unique insight into the life of khulans in the Gobi. We have since deployed numerous additional camera and video collars in the Mongolian Gobi.
Vectronic-Aerospace GPS PLUS-4 Collar with integrated camera from Germany and a pre-programmed explosive drop-off CR2a mechanism from Telonics, USA