Great Gobi Desert

Date of Submission: 01/08/1996
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Enlightenment
Coordinates: Lat. 43° to 45° N ; Long. 94° to 98° E
Ref.: 940
Word File

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This nomination is for the Great Gobi Strict Protected Area, protecting the Mongolian portion of a largely undisturbed part of the vast Gobi desert, and provides a last refuge for representatives of the ancient terrestrial fauna of Central Asia. The Protected area is devided into two ecologically distinct parts, Southern Altai ('Gobi A") and the Dzungarian Gobi ("Gobi B"), separated by 300 km. Scientists have identified 410 species of plants, 49 species of mammals, 15 reptiles and amphibians and over 150 bird species. Though the Southern Altai Gobi's vast plains and valleys and rugged. arid mountam ranges appear almost lifeless from a distance, the area provides a last haven for some of the rarest and most endangered species of wildlife round on earth. Perhaps 30 Gobi bears (Ursus arctos), the world's only desert-living bear, as well as Mongolia's last wild Bactrian camels (Camelus Bactrianus) inhabit the protected area. The Dzungarian was the last refuge for the world's only remaining truly wild horse, the Takhi, or Prezewalski's horse (Equus przewalskii), and is one of two sites where international organizations are assisting with reintroduction of the species from zoos and horses reserves in Europe and Russia.