5 comments on “Mongolia’s Impressive Red Deer

  1. Your photos are stunning, and the information is really interesting (and distressing). I don’t see why poachers can’t just think it through: wait a little while, they will shed their antlers, and then the population will stay strong so all the antler-hunters will have a new crop of them next year! Seems like it would be a win-win.

    • Hi Chrystal. The poaching situation throughout Asia – particularly here in Mongolia – is distressing. Until we did the research for this article, we had the same question you have: why not just wait till these animals shed there antlers? Apparently the antlers are only valuable when they are growing and covered by the soft tissue called “velvet.” The underlying problem is this: In Mongolia, there are resources to address poaching. For example, in one of the most pristine reserves, the Nomrog Strictly Protected Area, military personnel are stationed and part of their duties are to protect against poaching. Reports are that they don’t address poaching, that instead they, too, have become poachers. One of the results is that in an area where there is essentially no human settlement, the rivers have been all but emptied of their fish and sightings of large animals are rare. The area used to have healthy populations of moose, two or three species of deer, otters, and bears… This is poverty, money, and a lack of education converging.

      • Thank you for explaining. Here in the Pacific NW, we call it “in velvet,” and when the animals are in velvet, it is truly beautiful. I can imagine how that would compel some to believe antlers are especially powerful before the deer rub off the velvet.

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