Wildlife in Mongolia is often in the spotlight at the international level. Two of the nation’s emblematic species – the Przewalski’s horse and the Saiga antelope – are known around the world both as iconic symbols and for their threatened populations.
Wildlife-related diseases are also prevalent, some of which can be traced back to disease incidences in livestock. One notable example is the virus known as Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) which led to the die-off of 1,000s of Saiga antelope in 2017.
In addition, local communities face increased risks associated with zoonosis, due to an increasing number of domestic animals encroaching into wild spaces.
These issues are the among the reasons why the CIC decided to launch the Flying Vets project.
Carried out in collaboration with the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), the project will aim to promote and enhance the ability of local communities in Mongolia to identify, respond to and manage wildlife diseases.
This will include addressing issues related to wildlife-domestic livestock interactions and the related transmission of diseases (including zoonoses), thereby reducing the potential threat posed to public health, food safety, as well as wildlife conservation.
The project will kick off with a multi-stakeholder meeting in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on 3 August, 2022 as part of an initial pilot phase.
The meeting will bring together key experts in the fields of environment, human health and veterinary sectors to identify the key issues, including environmental challenges, that may affect the public and animal health sectors in Mongolia and internationally.
As part of the effort to raise awareness and funds for the Flying Vets, we have enlisted the help of long-time CIC and Young Opinion member Flurina Hammer, who will be taking part in the 2022 Mongol Derby (23 July – 1 August, 2022) to help kick-start the launch of this project. Flurina has also worked on the development of the Flying Vets since its inception, and has already secured a significant amount of funding for the initiative.
The Mongol Derby is an equestrian endurance race that takes place annually in Mongolia, with countless people flying in from all over the world to take part.
Every year, the event grabs the attention of prominent media outlets and shifts their focus on Mongolia during the course of the race. This means that the Mongol Derby will serve as the perfect opportunity to promote the Flying Vets to a broader international audience.
We will be covering Flurina’s participation in the Mongol Derby in the coming weeks, so make sure to look out for updates on our website.
Please note that all funds donated will go directly towards the Flying Vets project in Mongolia. Flurina’s participation in the Mongol Derby is entirely self-financed.
The Mongol Derby
The Mongol Derby is a 1,000km horse race across Mongolia, also known as the longest and toughest horse race in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
The course is based on an ancient messenger system used by Genghis Khan, with the 1,000km distance covering large areas across the Mongolian steppe. The semi-wild derby horses are provided by the local nomadic herders, with riders changing their steeds every 40km at horse stations. There is no marked course and the race is limited to 10 days.
Why am I participating in the Mongol Derby?
The Mongol Derby is an extraordinary challenge and a once in a lifetime experience which allows you to experience Mongolian culture at its roots.
The derby is all about horsemanship, physical and mental strength, as well as getting out of your comfort zone while riding through the stunning landscape of Mongolia.
Being passionate about horses and the outdoors, I couldn’t resist taking up this challenge and throwing myself into the unknowns of the Mongolian steppe.
As a long time CIC member and hunter that deeply cares about wildlife and wildlife conservation, I also saw this as the perfect opportunity to raise funds for The Flying Vets project.
The Mongol Derby is a magnificent way to experience the country’s culture and wildlife. Unfortunately, Mongolia’s culture and wildlife is severely at risk. Unless we act now, we may lose the wildlife and cultural heritage that makes this nation so great.
I hope you will join me in donating to this project, so that future generations can experience Mongolia as we can now.
– Flurina Hammer