The Plight of Mongolia’s Reindeer Herding People



Image: Uluc Kecik

Reindeer are milked twice a day by women of the tribe. The yogurt-like milk is four to five times more fatty than cow’s milk.

The mountainous boreal forests of the taiga are harsh, wild, and achingly beautiful. Although not as well known as the either the Gobi Desert or the grassy steppe of Mongolia, the taiga nevertheless represents the world’s largest biome.

Beginning where the frozen tundra ends, the taiga’s dark, coniferous woodlands stretch almost continuously from Eurasia across to sub-arctic North America. It is an important place because of its tremendous environmental value and as the home of the indigenous Dukha people and their reindeer herds – yet it is currently under threat.


Image: Uluc Kecik

Fall camps, like this one, are typically found on the edge of forests and provide protection from the elements.

This is not an easy place in which to live. Mostly, it is cold: the average temperature is below 32°F (0°C) and can drop all the way to a bone-chilling -65°F (-53°C). However, in the summer months the heat can shoot all the way up to 70°F (21°C), a massive variation from the usual chill. Yet, for the forests of the taiga and its flora and fauna, these are the perfect conditions for life.

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