Stunning pictures of Mongolian reindeer herders

June 11, 2019 • Alena Gerasimova

“One of the last remaining nomadic groups of reindeer herders has been tracked down and captured on camera in northern Mongolia. Japanese photographer Madoka Ikegami visited the Khövsgöl province last year in order to gain her amazing images of the Tsaatan community” – reports the Guardian

Three young boys seen riding on the back of reindeers for means of traveling in East Taiga, Mongolia Photograph: Madoka Ikegami / Barcroft Images
Saintsetseg Jambaldorj, a member of the Tsaatan minority ethnic group, poses with a reindeer. Photograph: Madoka Ikegami / Barcroft Images

Check more pictures here 
Source: The Guardian


Mongolian Parliament Members Visit Reindeer Centre

November 7, 2016 • Philip Burgess

Mongolian delegationOn Friday and Saturday, November 5-6 in Kautokeino, a Memorandum of Understanding between the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry and the Khuvsgul Khugjil Foundation, Mongolia was signed when members of the Mongolian Parliament visited ICR. The discussions centred around with the promotion of  nomadism and local economies, students scholarships, film production, small business innovation, internet access, village friendship development and the language issue of the indigenous Dukha peoples in Mongolia. This cooperation is an outgrowth of the Nomadic Herders project. Some photos below. The visiting delegation included Battsteseg Batsuuri  for the Mongolian Embassy in Stockholm, Batchuluun Otgonsur,  an advisor from Ulan Bataar and Munkhbaatar Lkhagva, member of the  Mongolian Parliament. Some more pictures here on our Facebook page.

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UArctic Scholarships Granted to Dukha Youth, Mongolia

October 20, 2015 • Philip Burgess

Ola Elvastuen with Dukha youthLast month, during the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a number of Norwegian parliamentarians met with Dukha / Tsataan youth with whom WRH and ICR partners through the Nomadic Herders project in a session organized by ICR. (see story and photo essay here).

In tandem with this session, 12 reindeer husbandry youth were granted UArctic Scholarships through the UArctic EALAT Institute. The scholarships were granted to work with Traditional Knowledge in their own culture related to protected areas,  reindeer husbandry and conservation of biodiversity in times of climate change. The scholarships were delivered by Ola Elvestuen, a representative of the Venstre party in the Norwegian Storting.

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Dukha Youth Seminar in Mongolia – Photo Gallery

September 29, 2015 • Philip Burgess

Dukha Youth Food seminarLast week Anders Oskal was in Mongolia to meet with Norwegian parliamentarians at the OSCE and to meet with Dukha youth with whom WRH and ICR partners through the Nomadic Herders project, and a workshop was held in tandem with a practical demonstration on the land related to traditional Dukha food – the making of bread in particular. Launch the photo essay below. The programme for the seminar is also below. Mongolia is home to the most southerly reindeer herding in the world and this entire Taiga region is experiencing rapid development and it is no exaggeration to say that this is some of the most threatened areas of traditional reindeer husbandry in the world.

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‘Sodura’: Dukha Reindeer Husbandry on the Big Screen

June 4, 2015 • Philip Burgess

SoduraA big budget and highly stylized feature film has been released which revolves around the Tsataan reindeer herders in Mongolia. Called ‘Sodura’, the film has been made in Mongolia and features Mongolian actors and presumably used people who knew how to handle reindeer as the trailer shows extensive scenes of reindeer herding, herding and migrating. ‘Sodura’, is the name of the heroine of the film, who is played by the well known Mongolian singer Ochgerel. The trailer shows a highly dramatic storyline and Mongolian media is reporting that it will be an entry into the Cannes film festival of 2016. You can watch it below.

Dukha, or Tsataan reindeer herders are one of the smallest numbered herding groups in the world and face enormous challenges related to the breakneck speed of development in Mongolia and the development of nature protected areas around the Lake Hovsgol region where they live alongside many other challenges. The Nomadic Herders project led by ICR is a partner with several herding peoples in the taiga, including Tsataan.


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Nomadic Herders Project Meets With Dukha Herders, Mongolia

February 15, 2015 • Philip Burgess

After meeting with reindeer herding Dukha youth in Ulan Bator (see story and photos here) last week, Professor Svein Mathiesen and young Sami herder Issat Turi travelled to Northern Mongolia to meet with Dukha herders on the land to discuss the ongoing implementation of the Nomadic Herders project and heard from herders and their families at first hand why the future of herding peoples in the taiga is facing such difficulties.

We have just posted a new gallery of images from their visit to Dukha herders which you can view here.

You can follow updates on our ICR Facebook page here
Nomadic Herders Dukha Meeting 2015


Nomadic Herders Project Meet With Dukha Youth, Ulan Bator

February 11, 2015 • Philip Burgess

Nomadic Herders Youth The Association of Word Reindeer Herders (WRH) and UArctic EALAT Institute (UEI) are currently in Ulan Bator, Mongolia meeting with Dukha youth to discuss the ongoing Nomadic Herders project. Mikhail Pogodaev (WRH Chair), Svein Mathiesen (UEI Professor) and Issat Turi (Sami reindeer herder) here are pictured meeting with Dukha youth in Ulan Bator, with a subsequent meeting with Dukha  and Mongolian partners in a rather incongruously located Yurt on the top of a high rise in the city which is experiencing breakneck economic development, as is the whole country. See a photo gallery of the meeting here. The youth participants were

1.Shinsaran Tsermaa
2.Tsetsegmaa Gombo
3.Bayarmagnai Ganbold
4.Zolzya Uudus
5. Hischimeg Bayandalai
6. Burmaa
7. Hongorzul Purevjav

Duke youth meeting Ulan Bator

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ICR Director Meets With GEF Chair, Dr. Naoko Ishii

February 10, 2015 • Philip Burgess

Nomadic HerdersAt a previous UNEP Council meeting, ICR Director Anders Oskal met with CEO and Chair of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Dr. Naoko Ishii (here in the middle of the picture below). Oskal is also pictured with Tulga Buya, who was then Vice-Minister of Environment and Green Development Mongolia. Here they discussed the Nomadic Herders project.

Mr Tulga Buya, Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chair of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Anders Oskal.

Mr Tulga Buya, Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chair of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Anders Oskal.


Nomadic Herders – Seminar in Ulan Bator Announced

May 31, 2013 • Philip Burgess

Nomadic HerdersThis year the main UNEP World Environment Day event is hosted by the government and people of Mongolia, and focuses on the new UNEP and UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) campaign Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint, which is aimed at slashing food waste. Mongolia is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, and is aiming to ensure this growth goes hand in hand with a green economy and civilization. While Mongolia does not waste significant food, the traditional nomadic lifestyle of some of its people—who developed ways to preserve food for long periods—offers some ancient answers to the modern-day challenge of food waste.
Mongolia is prioritizing a Green Economy shift across its big economic sectors such as mining and promoting environmental awareness among youth.

As part of these events in Ulan Bator, the Nomadic Herders project is hosting a seminar on Monday June 3, entitled ‘The Future for Reindeer Husbandry and Conservation in Mongolia’s Biodiversity Hotspot’ which will be attended by reindeer herders from Tsagaannuur, researchers, local and regional administration figures and Dukha youth living in Ulan Bator.

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“Reindeer People” to receive monthly allocation: The UB Post

May 17, 2013 • Philip Burgess

Tsaatan by FenceThe President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj, passed an order in 2007 to improve the living conditions, livelihoods and herding of the “Reindeer People”. Also known as the Tsaatan, they are herders who primarily raise reindeer in the north. Accordingly, on its last meeting on May 11, the government approved a new decree which will conduct several more measures to advance the implementation of the 2007 directives.

In accordance with the decree, a plan to intensify the implementation of “Recovering the reindeer herding and improving the reindeer herder’s livelihood” program, and a National Council to manage the program nationwide were newly formed. The council will make an annual report of its performance and results in December to both the President of Mongolia and the public.

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Vaccinations by Reindeer in Mongolia

April 29, 2013 • Philip Burgess

Vaccination by reindeer_MongoliaAccording to UNESCO, The Measles & Rubella Initiative, a global partnership to end these diseases, has helped reduce measles deaths by 71 per cent since 2001. An October 2012 immunization campaign against measles and rubella in Mongolia reached over 95 per cent of targeted children. A specific effort was made to reach the 24% of children in Mongolia that are born into nomadic familes, such as the reindeer herding families in the Khövsgöl’s remote district of Tsaganuur.

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Community Workshop in Tsagaannuur – Photo Gallery Added

March 8, 2013 • Philip Burgess

The Nomadic Herder project is wrapping up a week of community consultations in the Tsagaannuur in northern Mongolia and in the taiga with reindeer herders. A photo gallery of the workshop and work in the field has been added to the Nomadic Herders gallery. More about the workshop ands the various activities carried out in the field to follow. View the gallery here.


Nomadic Herders’ consults with the Mongolian Ministries

February 28, 2013 • Philip Burgess

Svein Mathiesen and Bjorn Alfthan have headed south from Yakutsk and Yakutia over the past weekend in order to continue building the GEF project proposal in Mongolia, one of the two countries involved, with Russia, in the Nomadic Herders GEF project.

After 30 hours on the Trans-Siberian train from Irkutsk to Ulaan Bataar, they met up in sunny (and comparatively warm) Ulaan Bataar with the local coordinating team for Nomadic Herders, Solongo Tsegevmid and Tsogtsaikhan Purev, in order to make consult with the relevant Ministries in Ulaan Bataar, and to visit Tsaganuur and the surrounding taiga to consult with the Dukha reindeer herders in this project.

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The Dark Side of Mongolia’s Mineral Boom – Atlantic

February 14, 2013 • Philip Burgess

Very interesting article in this months Atlantic on the impact of the newly launched copper and gold mine, Oyu Tolgoi. Although located a long way from areas of reindeer husbandry, the impact of a megaproject such as this in such a sparsely populated country will have strong ripple effects across the entire society.

“The launch this year of Oyu Tolgoi, the world’s largest untapped copper-and-gold mine, has ignited a debate in Mongolia about how to avoid a massive rise in income disparity. While most of the country’s wealth accrues in the nation’s capital, the vast majority of nomadic herders, who make up a third of Mongolia’s population, remain skeptical that they will reap any benefits from this new venture. The herders who live near Oyu Tolgoi in the Gobi Desert say they are getting both the best and worst of the deal.

Australia-based mining giant Rio Tinto is courting Gobi nomads and offering impressive compensation packages — particularly when compared to national salary averages — to win over locals. New schools, full-ride scholarships, guaranteed lifetime employment, part-time positions that don’t interfere with herding schedules, lump sums of cash, and new sheds and animal pens for each family are just some of the incentives to entice natives to move off ancestral grazing land and make room for the mega-mine.

“Besides herding animals, we do two days of work a week for Oyu Tolgoi,” says Erdenejargal, a herder who lives a few miles from the mine’s open pit. “It’s better to have both jobs.”

Read the Full article here


Video of young Tsataan herder, Mongolia

February 16, 2011 • Philip Burgess

Becoming a reindeer herder is a process of lifelong learning..starting from the very beginning


Hard Winter for Herders in Mongolia (UN)

March 18, 2010 • Philip Burgess

Mongolia has suffered  a “Dzud”, which is a multiple natural disaster consisting of a summer drought producing small stockpiling of fodder, followed by very heavy winter snow and lower than normal temperatures.

Heavy and continuous snowfall and blizzards have resulted in a sharp fall in daily temperatures – dropping to below -40°Celsius in 19 out of a total of 21 ‘aimags’ (provinces) in Mongolia.

According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the extreme cold and heavy snow have already caused the death of more than one million livestock, worsening food security and predicted subsequently to result in a deepening of poverty and increased internal rural-urban migration for many families.  According to the World Bank, livestock herding today, accounts for around 35% of employment in Mongolia.

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MSNBC Feature Tsataan Reindeer Herders and Itgel Foundation

September 14, 2009 • Philip Burgess

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

(Pic & Story Source: msnbc) HOVSGOL PROVINCE, Mongolia –  Bayanjargal laughed as she watched the three of us from NBC News turn on our cell phones for the first time in 24 hours and maniacally start emailing and texting. We probably were a ridiculous sight – hungry, dishevelled, basically slightly worse for wear after having flown two hours and then bumped along another ten hours inside a Russian UAZ van.  But that wasn’t why Bayanjargal was grinning so widely.

“I’m happy to see you on your cell phones,” said the 40-year-old, who like many Mongolians goes by just one name. “It means there is a signal up here!” “Up here” was Tsagaannuur, the northernmost town in this part of Mongolia, where we had stopped briefly during a strenuous three-day journey to the taiga, a subarctic area on the Siberian border. The region ranks amongst the most isolated and harsh environments in the northern hemisphere. It’s so remote there are no power or phone lines. But there is cell phone service, which became available this past year.

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Reindeer in Mongolia Covered on VOA

September 19, 2008 • Philip Burgess

ITGEL founder Morgan Keay with Tsataan herders

The work of the Itgel Foundation was covered in a recent Voice of America radio programme. The Tsataan are an indigenous people living in Northern Mongolia,  south of the Sayan mountains in Russia, the region from which reindeer husbandry is said to have originated. Small herd size, poor economic prospects and diminished herd health along with a host of other issues, many of which are shared with other reindeer peoples, are faced by the Tsataan. The US and Mongolia based Itgel Foundation have been working for several years to address these challenges through a community centred approach.

You can download Voice of America MP 3 here

Source – VOA