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AHEC Newsletter 67






From January 5 to 6, 2023, the 3rd Ranger Competition in Hunchun Bureau of Northeast China Tiger & Leopard National Park Administration was successfully held in Hunchun. The competition was jointly organised by Hunchun Forestry Bureau and OPF. 49 rangers from 13 conservation units in Hunchun Bureau participated in the competition.
The competition aims to comprehensively improve skills of the rangers in forest farms and enhance experience exchanges between rangers in Hunchun Bureau. This competition closely follows the development needs of Northeast China Tiger & Leopard National Park and focuses on capacity building for rangers. It is an all-round test of the quality, technical ability and professionalism of the rangers in forest farms.
The competition is quite challenging and technical, divided into three parts: field work, indoor Q&A and contest. Field work includes the use of GPS devices, setting and maintenance of infrared cameras, standardization of patrol records, and practical skills such as snare removal. Through theoretical knowledge and practical work, it evaluates both the level of skill and problem-solving ability of the teams.


After two days of fierce competition, the emergency rescue team of Hunchun Bureau won the championship; Yangpao Forest Farm and Ying’an Forest Farm won the second place; Dahuanggou Forest Farm, Chunhua Forest Farm and Madida Forest Farm won the third place. Zhao Yan from the emergency rescue team won the individual championship. The champion ranger Zhao Yan said: “The competition is very challenging. It assesses our comprehensive competence such as physical strength, patrolling skills as well as our knowledge of conservation policies and regulations. It also helps me find my own weakness. For example, I still need to learn more about interpretation of laws and regulations as well as human wildlife conflict management.”
Since the establish of the Tiger & Leopard National Park, OPF and WWF have supported Hunchun Bureau in organizing skill and knowledge training for many times, which offers good learning opportunities for all rangers in forest farms, sets a professional platform of capacity building, and also helps the Park continuously consolidate the foundation of conservation talents.


The virtual forest, launched by WWF Russia in October 2022, has been replenished with new sounds to give residents of megacities the opportunity to escape from the stone jungle and at the same time help preserve pristine forests.
The virtual forest is a comfortable audio space - nature sounds, music, audio walks, meditations, stories and fairy tales will make the forest closer than ever.
In January, the virtual forest was filled with new sounds. One of the new “arrivals” is an audio walk or just a chill out time for those who want to get into the pristine Far Eastern taiga and soak up its spirit and to get the idea of how the tiger forest sounds.
The new forest playlist is available to all visitors of the virtual forest for a small donation, which WWF will direct to the preservation of the rapidly disappearing unique pristine forests of Russia.
Among others, WWF thanks KGP Filmproduction, which provided a fragment of the soundtrack from the documentary “The Last of the Wild”. Free license of charge on the condition of using the following credits:
“The Voices of a Tiger Forest” – Sound excerpt from “Last of the Wild”, Director: Bernadette Weigel, Sound Design by Wolf-Maximilian Liebich & Atanas Tcholakov ©KGP Filmproduktion



“Nest in trees, perch in water, migrate south in autumn, and return to the north in spring.” Guess which bird? You may have different answers.One of them is the endangered migratory bird in the Heilongjiang basin: scaly-sided merganser. Today, let’s talk about it!

Scaly-sided merganse?
You may like cranes and storks with long legs and long necks, such as red-crowned crane, white crane and oriental stork; or round-headed cute owls, such as snowy owl, great grey owl and little owl; or sharp-eyed powerful raptors, such as golden eagle, northern goshawk and saker falcon; or talented songbirds, such as Mongolian lark, black-naped oriole and Siberian rubythroat. scaly-sided merganser is quite a unique species of ducks. You’ll really love it!
Scaly-sided merganser (scientific name: Mergus squamatus) is a level I protected bird in China. Unlike other ducks, its beak is not flat and wide, but long and shape, with a hook at the front, usually red. scaly-sided merganser has very cool hair style, especially males. They have thick black hairs at the back of head, with a bunch of them standing upright. A distinctive feature of scaly-sided merganser is the scale-like (or washboard-like) pattern at both sides. The side feathers are white with black edge and axis, looking like beautiful scales. That’s why the bird is named “scaly-sided merganser” in English.
Scaly-sided merganser is reared by female bird, usually a brood of 10 birdling. You may wonder why a female bird in the wild looks after over 20 baby birds. Actually, scaly-sided merganser has a behavior of “brood merger”, i.e. parents merge unrelated chicks into their nests for mixed breeding. The supermoms not only take care of their own babies, but also take in ducklings of another family. Researchers find that “brood merger” basically occurs before 30 days old of the ducklings in places where they search for food or take a rest (river banks or rocks in small rivers).
The reason for “brood merger” is probably that the parents fight for places with more food. As a result, one parent is driven away by the other, or the ducklings get lost, or a parent bird gets injured or killed. Conservationists also find that “brood merger” may be related to high nesting density in a certain habitat, or female birds lack of parenting experience and effective protection of chicks. Luckily, these young birds join a new family until they grow up.
Scaly-sided merganser mainly breed in Changbai Mountains of Jilin Province as well as middle and eastern mountains of Heilongjiang Province. They nest in natural holes of tall trees on riverbanks. Most of the nests are over 10 meters from the ground. Soon after a chick breaks through its shell, it will follow the mother to jump to the ground from the nest several floors high. “Dare or not?” If not, it will die. Because the mother will not fly back to the nest to feed it, but set an example in the river to encourage the ducklings to take the first step bravely.


Build new nest boxes
Scaly-sided merganser nest in natural holes of tall trees. However, it takes hundreds of years for trees to form natural holes. In their habitat, there are few suitable trees and holes, so building artificial nest boxes for birds has become an important way of conservation. Through years of practice, the conservationists find artificial nest boxes work effectively.
In China, artificial nest boxes designed for hole-nesting birds in recent years can be roughly divided into two types: column type with natural wood and square type with wooden board. The column type is to empty a whole section of trunk and seal the top and bottom. In this way, it uses a real trunk and its shape. However, it is too heavy for installation, and the service life is relatively limited. The square type is the most widely used and simplest artificial nest box which can be designed and adapted for birds of different sizes and their habits. Such boxes are spliced with wooden boards. However, this material is also heavy, and the service life is very short. In tough conditions in the wild, the nest boxes are broken down every one or two years, becoming “dangerous houses”.
Based on actual conditions and usage of these two types, we design a new type of artificial nest box. In order to minimize weight on the premise of ensuring structural strength, with many tests, OPF and its partners adopt a new composite material and integrated design to make it liftable by one hand, much easier for front-line teams to put up the nest boxes in trees. Different from the square wooden boxes, the design of new boxes not only improves the structural strength, but also minimizes the volume.
Up to date, 150+ new nest boxes with jungle bionic camouflage have been installed in areas along the Heilongjiang basin, and another 150 will be built next year as needed.
The design concept of artificial nest boxes is to imitate and upgrade natural nests. The principle of use is to make up for the shortage of natural nests. OPF also provides updated guidance manuals for the protected areas to build new nest boxes. It is emphasized in the manual that the installation shall meet the following conditions (including but not limited to): (1) The nest boxes shall be built in places where stable distribution of scaly-sided merganser has been observed for over two straight years; (2) The nest boxes shall be at least 10 meters high from the ground; (3) Diameter at breast height of trees shall be more than 50cm; (4) The nest boxes shall face rivers, with a wide unobstructed view. Artificial nest boxes built under guidance of the new manual is expected to effectively improve the utilization.

Do a little more for birds…
OPF will keep following the breeding population of scaly-sided merganser in Changbai Mountains of Jilin Province. In the middle and eastern mountains of Heilongjiang Province, OPF is working with local authorities to assess the recovery potential of distribution areas and the population, and also supporting capacity improvement of the conservation teams. This year, we are also going to perform scientific investigation and evaluation on the built artificial nest boxes, and keep relevant authorities updated on good news that the nest boxes have been used by wild birds such as scaly-sided merganser, mandarin ducks and owls.
At the end of the breeding period, we will compare and analyze unoccupied and unused nest boxes to help conservationists with continuous improvement. The “new houses” not picked by any birds will be put back into use after a proper refit. Hopefully, they can win the favor of birds. OPF will also support the protected areas to strengthen daily work such as habitat patrolling management and remote monitoring to mitigate the impact of other factors on the breeding population of wild animals.

How could you help the conservation?
Don’t enter natural reserves without permission;
Don’t tread on undergrowth vegetation; take the right track;
Don’t litter or pollute water sources;
Don’t disturb, poach or harm wild animals;
Don’t use illegal tools or fish in prohibited fishing areas during the fishing season;
Follow and take part in conservation activities;
More ideas? Please feel free to comment and share with us.
Here’s good news. The breeding population of scaly-sided merganser has exceeded 220 pairs in China, showing an initial growth trend. OPF and WWF will continue seeking and taking new steps to conserve scaly-sided merganser. We expect the artificial nest boxes built in January and February will be occupied by birds in April; they’ll like the new style of design.


Onon River is located in the Amur-Heilong Ecoregional Complex which is one of the two target areas for WWFMongolia and identified as one of the 35 priority places within WWF network. The River originates at the eastern slope of the Khentii Mountains and flows 818 km from its source in the eastern Mongolia until it reaches the Pacific Ocean. Conservation and rehabilitation of this key ecosystem, especially of the forest resources, is vital. Let’s learn more about what have community-based organizations achieved to preserve critical forests.



“We want the herders to keep their dogs away from the nesting spots of migratory birds. Together with the herders we moved five dogs from the lake area and tied seven dogs in the fence throughout the nesting period”. This is what “Green gold” eco club boys said, excited about their “Chicks from my Homeland” campaign that they have initiated in 2019 to raise herders’ awareness about migratory birds who arrive at local lakes for nesting.


WWF-Mongolia has been responsible for daily conservation of Khar Yamaat Nature Reserve (NR) since 2013 in accordance with the Agreement signed by Ministry of Environment and Green Development and Khentii and Sukhbaatar Aimag (provincial) governments. To date, the Nature Reserve’s daily conservation is being successfully managed through direct stakeholder engagement.
Last winter, it snowed a lot and snow cover thickness reached 20-30 cm and wintering was actually harsh either for domestic herds or wildlife populations throughout the NR. Therefore, WWF-Mongolia, in collaboration with local residents of the NR, took some biotechnical measures (e.g. placed 300 kg of rock salts) for wildlife in four designated points in the Nature Reserve. The points were designated based on findings from automatic cameras placed in the NR. Moreover, the teams of WWFMongolia officers and locals carried out wildlife observations and recorded five red deer, nine roe deer, and eight Mongolian gazelles during the biotechnical measures in the field.



WWF-Mongolia supports initiatives and efforts of fishing clubs in Onon River Basin in Eastern Mongolia, a part of its programme areas, delivered and co-implemented different types of activities including capacity building, public awareness, and fish studies based on their action plans. One of the most recent activities is the winter fish study which was carried out by a fishing club in Bayan-Uul soum (sub-province) of Dornod aimag (province) in February, 2023.
The fishing club in the soum (sub-province), in collaboration with a frontier military unit, organized an awareness event in the unit’s meeting hall. During the event, the fishing club members presented their activities and discussed about viable options to mobilize local people into fish conservation. Moreover, the event agenda included a training on identification of fish species, the legislation on fishing, and importance of fish conservation, which were interesting and informative for the event participants. During the training section, copies of “A Reference Book on Fish in Mongolia” were handed in to a library at the military unit. Visited some local herders residing along Onon River, the event organizers had discussions on importance of fish conservation and consequences of illegal fishing. These discussions and awareness raising were done with 40 locals.
Fishing clubs operational within Onon and Balj River basin participated in demarcation of fishing regions along the Rivers. “The demarcated or signed fishing regions will increase public awareness and attitude on fishing regions along the Rivers”, according to the fishing club members.


Fire-fighting equipment funded by the Yandex Foundation and social project “Help Nearby” was handed over to three volunteer squads active in Primorye. “Tis”, a student brigade for nature protection based at the Primorsky State Agricultural Academy, received a new batch of fire-fighting equipment, communications equipment and overalls from WWF to protect valuable forests from fires in the buffer zone of the Ussuriisky Nature Reserve.
The transfer of equipment to the students took place in the forest nursery of the Academy. The arsenal of “Tis” was replenished with seven satchel gasoline blowers, five mobile walkietalkies, smoke-proof respirators, flame-retardant gloves and neck-face masks. This will expand the capabilities of the brigade in the fight against natural and forest fires in the territory assigned to the academy.
In 2011, thanks to the joint efforts of WWF and the Agricultural Academy, about 29,000 hectares of the most valuable forests in the buffer zone of the Ussuriisky Reserve were legally assigned to the Academy for indefinite use to create an educational model forest. The Academy’s students and teachers carried out forest inventory and planning, developed forest use plan and fire protection management plan for this educational and experimental forestry.
Today, educational and practical classes are held here for students and trainees of the programs of the Forestry Innovation Center, as well as scientific research. An integral part of the educational and experimental forestry is the forest nursery, which was restored and staffed with the support of WWF. Since 2015, seedlings of valuable species have been grown annually in the nursery to restore degraded forests in the southern Far East. The nursery is also used by the Academy in working with school forestry units of Primorye.


Two another squads are the new voluntary fire brigades thatwere formed from active local residents in the villages of the Shkotovsky and Partizansky Districts adjacent to the Livadia Ridge. Both volunteer teams will function as district cells of WWF’s reliable partner, the Melovoy Period Volunteer Fire Brigade. The squad has been protecting the unique nature of southwestern Primorye from fires for more than 10 years - the only territory where the population of the Amur leopard, has been preserved. Every year during the fire season, Melovoy Period volunteers come to the aid of the staff of the Land of the Leopard National Park in extinguishing forest and natural fires that occur both at the borders and in the national park itself. In addition, other valuable protected areas of southwestern Primorye are under the Park’s protection: the mainland of the Far Eastern State Marine Biosphere Reserve and the Khasansky Nature Park.
“Unfortunately, we have wildfires every year, especially in spring and autumn. Fire poses a threat to the taiga, which is unique in every sense, next to which we live and the preservation of which is very important for us. Many of those who are now voluntarily taking up the fight against fire are those people who relatively recently moved here from the cities precisely because of the unique nature that the Livadia Ridge is famous for. We are all interested in preserving it for ourselves and our children, and we really appreciate the support WWF provided to us. We will try to justify it,” comments Alexander Yurkin, a resident of the village of Tigrovy, a beekeeper, coordinator of volunteer firefighters in the area of the Livadia Ridge.



WWF has declared 2023 the Year of the Living Amur in Russia to draw attention of the state and society to the diversity, value and vulnerability of the ecosystems of the Amur ecoregion. The Amur River is one of the last major free–flowing rivers in the world. It is the unifying beginning and the central element of the Amur ecoregion – a single cross-border natural complex covering large areas of the south of the Russian Far East (from the Daurian steppes in Transbaikalia to the southwest of Primorye), Northeastern China and Eastern Mongolia. This is a set of valuable ecosystems that are the home and source of life for many rare species of animals and plants.
"Comprehensive conservation of the unique nature of the Amur Basin remains one of the priorities of WWF, which is fixed in the new five-year environmental strategy of our organization approved in 2022," says Peter Osipov, head of WWF Russia Amur branch.
“Our action plan provides some comprehensive measures that, on the one hand, will help ensure the well-being of freshwater ecosystems in the Amur basin and the flag species living in them, and on the other hand, will allow us to find the long-term solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change on biodiversity and people. We will work to preserve the natural flow of rivers in the Amur basin, continue to seek the granting of a protective status to territories of key importance for the conservation of biodiversity, and design new protected areas and protected zones for the existing ones. We will actively use the potential of new forms of territorial protection, such as spawning forest belts to protect freshwater ecosystems, hunting resource protection zones to protect migratory birds, and others. We will continue to implement programs to increase the number of the Oriental stork as an indicator of the well–being of freshwater ecosystems: to install additional supports for artificial nests and aid the work of our partners to protect natural supports - nesting trees from fires. We hope to continue our cooperation with power engineers to minimize threats to storks that nest on power poles, which is very important both for the safety of birds and for the stability of energy supply to settlements,” comments Anna Serdyuk, PhD, head of the Freshwater Ecosystems Conservation Unit at WWF Russia Amur branch.


The key event of the campaign is the ecological festival “Stork Day”, which will be held for the first time in the capital of the Amurskaya Province in April this year and hopefully will be subsequently held annually. The festival will be held by AmurSeU (the Amursky Socio-Ecological Union,) one of WWF’s partners. The Amur Region will have its own traditional ecological holiday, which will be aimed at attracting the attention, first of all, of the younger generation, to the problems of preserving this rare bird and, through it, all freshwater ecosystems of the Amur basin.
A lot of educational work in the Year of the Living Amur will be carried out by the partner organizations of WWF – nature reserves and national parks, public environmental organizations, student nature protection brigades. Dozens of events will be held under the auspices of the campaign: photo exhibitions and presentations, talks and lectures, game programs, contests, quests and quizzes.


On March 25, 2023, Jilin, “Earth Hour” themed public event was successfully held in Changchun. The event was co-organized by OPF, Jilin Radio and TV Station, Northeast China Tiger & Leopard National Park Administration and Jilin Provincial Museum of Natural History. The theme of the conservation event is “give an hour for earth”, which aims to arouse public attention to conservation, encourage people to participate in conservation.
Nature provides humans with food, air and water. It is the foundation of human society, industry, commerce, agriculture, animal husbandry and cultural development. Unfortunately, nature is experiencing unprecedented losses due to human activities, biodiversity continues to decline, and the global climate crisis continues to intensify. If we don’t make any change, it will pose a crisis of extinction to about one million species worldwide, irreversible damage to ecosystems, and a huge threat to human well-being. It is necessary and urgent to redefine the relationship between human and nature to save nature and wildlife.
The government is taking action. It also needs deeper and more active participation from all sectors of society. On September 22, 2020, China proposed the “dual carbon goals” at the 75th United Nations General Assembly. At the end of 2022, at the CBD Cop15, the first global level conference held by the UN themed ecological civilization, all contracting parties adopted the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” to “build a nature-positive society”. Earth Hour advocates taking action to protect nature and achieve the goals of Zero Carbon and Nature Positive by 2030.
Public conservation events in Changchun were in various forms this year, such as nature education of wild tigers, wetlands and migratory birds, nature related shows, interactive games, conservation story exhibitions, and tiger tents for tiger conservation. 150 young “tiger protectors” from the Children’s Art Troupe of Jilin Radio and TV Station perform “Languages of Nature” and “Song of Nature”. Artists demonstrated reverence for nature and the charm of wildlife by khoomei “Holy Mountains” and dance “Swan Goose”, showing the sound of nature, feel the pulse of nature, and become a beam of light conserving tigers and their homes. Nature education showcased conservation of wild tigers, restoration of tiger habitat and antipoaching action. People learned about conservation by taking part in interactive games of wetlands and migratory birds. In the tiger tent, people learned how to find and remove snares. The theme of “Earth Hour” event highlights “action” and “hope”, giving more than an hour for earth, and taking action to protect our shared and the only homeland.
1. Energy saving: turn off unnecessary electrical appliances, set temperature indoors properly, shorten shower time, and save water.
2. Garbage classification: correct garbage classification can make better use and treatment of garbage and reduce environmental pollution.
3. Green travel: choose environment-friendly means like cycling, walking and public transportation for lower carbon emission and energy consumption.
4. Nature and wildlife conservation: conserve ecosystems including wetlands, forests,11 grasslands and oceans. Conserve biodiversity; for example, don’t destroy vegetation in the wild, don’t pick up bird eggs, don’t destroy bird nests, or don’t set free invasive species in the wild.


The main theme of this year’s Earth Hour 2023 event was to encourage everyone to do something positive to help nature and give Mother Earth a break. Earth Hour has a different theme every year, this year’s theme is investing in the future. Therefore, this time, we aimed to increase the awareness about environmentally-friendly and sustainable consumption through fashion industry and promote the idea that everyone can control their consumption and develop appropriate consumer habits as everyone’s contribution to the future.


To make the marking more engaging and support youth willingness to organize the event we have collaborated with Environmental Fellowship program (EFP), which is a youth volunteer group operating as one of pioneers in promoting sustainable development goals. As such the marking has started a month earlier to disseminate the idea of sustainable fashion its impact on environment through posting of digital contents, such as posters and short video reel via different social platforms, including a purposely designed social page Earth Hour Mongolia.
Such contents included “Reveal Yourself” posters with youth spelling out the actions and commitments they do and have for the nature and thus appealing the peers for the nature friendly habits. The reveals had great engagement as this included the youth working in different sectors and were about doable and exemplary actions towards better living with the harmony with the nature.
In addition, we produced some merchandise products such as T-shirts, mug pads and totes which were sold at the event day and some were donated to many volunteer folks, who have actively helped in the organization of the event.
The money collected from the sales are to be contributed to the celebration of the next Earth Hour event. One of notable actions during the event celebration was an Open Mic, a show that has become very popular among youth. We used this opportunity to allow anyone to take the stage and apart from performing to share aloud those little positive actions they are doing to save the nature. Over 35 young people have taken up this chance to spell out their commitments towards a better Earth.
In total six organizations have participated in the actual event using the booth to disseminate information about sustainable energy use, reducing greenhouse emissions and the tips on how to reuse the old clothes and make use of fabric scraps to craft a special design totes and small appliances. In relation to the sustainable consumption habits, we distributed small advises printed out on genuine leather as a mug pads.
One of other highlighting actions during the event was a Fashion show of recycled clothes, made of old clothes and fabric scraps. The intention was to let the public visualize how the clothes can be transformed into reused and even upcycled to an even better version. Specifically, the artists of the “Toirog” brand and the “Quilted Fashion Crafts Center” displayed their best works and promoting the concept of responsible consumption and the role of sustainability for our planet to thrive.
Overall the event was to increase the awareness about fast fashion and its harm to the environment and change the buying and consumption habits in favor of the Nature and natural resources.
WWF-Mongolia Eastern office has supported the eco clubs in organizing a three day recycling event of old clothes. The children aged 11-15 have collected the old clothes and made small household utensils, such as boot cleaning tissues, table pads, stuffed toys and fabric bags. As a conclusion of the event the children have lightened up the candles in the form of 60. The event involved almost 200 children from 3 soums and 30 adults who were specially invited for the recycled items exhibition and the art performances the eco clubs held in their schools on the occasion of Earth Hour.
It is notable that the Earth Hour initiative has been taken over by many other institutions, who on their turn are implementing smaller yet remarkable actions appealing the communities for positive actions for the planet. For instance, a University of Internal Affairs is specifically marking the Day by switching on the candles. The Scouts Association has organized a special event on that day by switching the candles in the shape of 60+.
It is also important to highlight that the bigger businesses from year to year, within its CSR initiatives, have become willing to join Erath Hour celebration and thus demonstrate their concern and dedication to make the Earth better. For instance this year’s Earth Hour venue was kindly provided by one of prominent businesses free of charge, who have also donated movie tickets to quiz winning children. Shangri-La, as one leading businesses, have also joined the marking of Earth Hour by being proactive on their social pages appealing to switch off to give a break.
A private entity Pro Car washing which uses grey water has also joined Earth Hour by appealing the similar businesses to save water. An electric car supplier, a father who is collecting litter along the river, a housewife who is recycling food waste at home, cute little sisters who are a true example for their parents, a coffee shop owner who is delivering waste to a recycling unit, they are all who are committed to give an hour of break to the Earth by joining the Day and sharing their appeals for better future.


In March, the WWF team went to the earthworm laboratory of the Heilongjiang Institute of Natural Resources and Ecology in Harbin, Heilongjiang province. Questions relevant to the earthworm documentary have been discussed, such as the cultivation of earthworms, the hatching of earthworm cocoons, the mechanism of vermicompost, and vermicompost application to sustainable agriculture development and grassland conservation. Researchers have been applying vermicompost to different modes of agriculture, sivilculture, and so on. Current result shows there will be less N2O emission during the process of vermicompost if earthworms feed on the mixture of cattle dung and Fungus residue.
The draft script of the earthworm documentary is basically done. The earthworm comics are also in the preparation process. Hopefully, the first episode of documentary and comics will be released in 22th May, the International Day for Biological Diversity.


In 2019 the children from “Green Island” eco-club in Dadal soum of Khentii province have initiated a campaign “My Lovely Moilkhon cherry” to collect bird cherry seeds and grow them into a Garden of Dreams in the future. 2.2 kg of seeds collected at that time, now have already grown into 530 bird cherry trees of 15 cm tall.


Motivated by their achievements, “Green Island” eco club children are often times organizing experience sharing trainings and events to the schools from neighboring areas. To make the learning effective they have elaborated a step-by-step guideline for black cherry seed collection and planting features. So far, they reached to over 200 pupils from the schools along the Onon River, the northern and the longest source for the Amur River (see what WWF-Mongolia is doing to protect Amur River). Such experience sharing has triggered a wave of smaller campaigns among other schools. For instance, 90 kg of bird cherry seeds collected after the training, later have been planted on the occasion of national Tree planting day and half donated to local institutions.


To promote ecological functions and signifance of Mongolian marmots, WWF-Mongolia produced a short documentary on life of Mongolian marmot and disseminated through social media channels for the celebration of World Wildlife Day 2023. It was well received by the 153,k viewers and reached 305,909 people with 4,265 reactions, 89 comments and 1,949 shares.
Known as ecosystem engineer, The Mongolian marmot (Marmota sibirica) is a large, endangered rodent species that ranges across the steppe regions of Mongolia, and parts of China and Russia. Marmots live in colonies and dig vast burrow networks that alter the nutrient profiles of the soil and affect the composition and productivity of the plant and animal communities. Marmots were formerly a common steppe species, but overharvesting has made them endangered, raising worries about the effects of their extinction on other species. Given the importance of marmots to the ecosystems they live in, the fall of these animals probably had an impact on other species.


Mongolia has already experienced significant climate changes, observed climate trends include increased average temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns and an increased frequency of extremes, such as the combination of droughts and harsh winters (dzud). Reliance on rain-fed agriculture and its relatively low adaptive capacity to changing rainfall patterns, droughts, floods and pests, the country’s agriculture sector is highly vulnerable to climate change. Therefore, transforming agriculture systems through integrated, environmentally friendly, and climate-smart approaches is vital to increase production in a sustainable manner.
WWF-Mongolia in collaboration with the National Union of Mongolian Farmers, the mentorship program for 9 young farmers from Khentii and Dornod provinces was launched to promote the best practices of climate-smart and environmentally friendly agriculture in February 2023. Participants will have the opportunity to share and learn from each other through theoretical training and field experiments and practice on soil protection technology and methods of regenerative agriculture.
The use of intercropping approach restores biodiversity in the ecosystem, increases the quality and quantity of soil microorganisms, and activates the process of soil health and regeneration. In this way, it plays an important role in absorbing greenhouse gases in the air and mitigating climate change. Also, due to the significant increase in beneficial soil microorganism indicators during intercropping, the incidence of diseases and pests of cultivated plants is significantly reduced, thereby reducing the use of pesticides, thus enabling the production of healthy and nutritious food. It is also a method of farming that increases the possibility of financial stability for farmers by reducing costs and risks and increasing income.


WWF-Mongolia, in collaboration with its partners, produced a two-sectioned (series) documentary “Daurian Steppe” to raise awareness on Daurian Steppe ecosystem and its conservation importance. The documentary series, 15 minutes each, present the Daurian Steppe uniqueness, values, and wildlife (fauna and flora) species including threatened and endangered species screened in simple and interesting language for the public. The documentary presents details on conservation efforts of Daurian Steppe, listed as a site of World Heritage, and nomadic lifestyle, tradition, and customs of local communities residing the Steppe. It also shares historic pages of protected area administrations on conservation of the international trans-boundary Daurian protected area in the past. Filming of the documentary was done onsite a year round (in four seasons) to cover the key details of the Daurian Steppe above mentioned.


Regarding its geographic location and landscape, the Daurian Steppe, one of Eco-Regions in the world, lies over territories of Russian Federation, China, and Mongolia, neighbouring countries. The Eco-Region has two main parts: Daurian forest steppe and Mongolian Manchurian steppe. Daurian forest steppe, which is on territory of Mongolia, encompasses Onon-Balj River Basin and its low mountains located in the east of Khentii Mountain Range. In comparing to the rest of Mongolia, this region is relatively moister, with 350-450 mm annual precipitation.


WWF-Mongolia, in collaboration with Administration of Onon-Balj National Park (OBNP), has successfully completed the second year of the Winter Programme for Junior Rangers. The programme is designed to provide awareness on values of Protected Areas and inspire school children to be close, observe, and carry out basic research-oriented observations on the environment within their residential areas and to mobilize the children into conservation.
Attendees of the winter programme are annually pre-selected through selection process and offered to complete specially designed training and field demonstration programmes. For the 2nd year of the winter programme, 12 school children-eco club members were selected and successfully completed the programme. Facilitators or moderators of the programme were the park rangers and officers of WWF-Mongolia’s Eastern Regional Office. It was three-day programme, where the attendees were full of interesting and informative outdoor and indoor activities. One of the activities was that the attendees along with their facilitators visited a forestation site. They had measurements of the tree seedlings newly planted and grown therein. Besides, they were provided with basic techniques to properly collect pine cones and separate seeds from the cones. Another interesting outdoor activity was for the attendees was how to identify wildlife footprints. During the wildlife footprint observations, the park rangers showed automatic camera traps and explained about importance of these devices for conservation. Visited the park administration, the school children were presented with the park’s values and daily activities of the park administration as well as main tourist routes to historical sites. At the end of the programme, the children had a short journey to some historical sites.
The winter programme is interesting and informative training programme for school childreneco club members. Therefore, the programme for junior rangers should be organized in four seasons, not just in winter, according to the programme trainers and facilitators.