Children to submit proposal to the local authorities to temporarily ban the hunting of gray wolves
One-week campaign was organized amongst eco club students on the occasion of Mongolian Saiga day. During that week, children undertook many activities such as raising public awareness on the values of the Mongolian Saiga, providing accurate information on Saiga’s recent disease outbreak, and organizing essay competition among students. Moreover, a trip was organized in Saiga habitat area which was highly appreciated by eco club children. During the trip, children have counted 1106 Saiga individuals, registered 18 carcasses and encountered 17 affected individuals. Children have also observed a carcass whose horns were removed.
The eco club children’s annual gathering has been organized in Darvi soum of Gobi-Altai province on 28th April 2017 in order to benchmark the results of weekly campaign and identify future interventions. Total of 104 students, eight teachers from eight soums have come together to discuss on their contributions to protect endangered Mongolian Saiga.
Children from Sharga soum’s eco club of Gobi-Altai province have proposed to regularly carry out baseline survey of the Mongolian Saiga and received approval from majority of participants. The survey is to be conducted during summer vacations and findings presented to the local authorities and herder communities. This activity has double fold benefits: spending effectively summer vacations, developing sense of appreciating wildlife and undertaking independent nature conservation activities. During the gathering, each eco club was donated with GPS device and binoculars. These devices would help eco club members to identify geographical locations, monitor the population of Saiga, and create integrated database of population data, locations and research data taken during the calving period.
Children are mostly concerned with local herders’ strong antipathy towards Mongolian Saiga. They stressed the importance of advocating for and raising public awareness in order to reverse the misconception of herders that Saiga might spread epidemic disease of goat plague to domestic livestock. Children have also proposed to submit their opinions to the local authorities to temporarily ban the hunting of gray wolves as Saiga disease is connected to decreased population of gray wolves. They have also suggested to the decision makers and local authorities to collaborate with professional institutions to study whether infectious disease is transmitted from Saiga to domestic animals and deliver study findings to the herders.