DESERT DWELLER: The long-eared hedgehog lives in the Gobi Desert. © Klein & Hubert/Nature Picture Library Mongolia closes in on its goal to protect nearly one-third of the country and the rare species that call it home. By Matt Jenkins, Freelance Writer | August 27, 2020 Fall 2020 From the grassy seas of the eastern Steppe to the lofty peaks of the Altai Mountains, with forbidding expanses of Gobi Desert and wide belts of boreal forest in between, Mongolia is a land of mind-boggling scale and tremendous ecological importance. The country is perhaps best-known for its vast grasslands, which sustain more than a million gazelles. But it is also home to a menagerie of species that challenge the imagination: the elusive snow leopard, a Pleistocene-era Muppet-nosed antelope and a trout so big that it preys on beavers. Bird’s-Eye View The population of Dalmatian Pelicans in Mongolia is almost extinct, due in part to the traditional use of pelican bills by herding communities. This photograph was taken in Lake Kerkini, Greece. © David Pattyn/Nature Picture Library Last year, as part of a long-term quest to safeguard Mongolia’s rich natural heritage, the nation’s parliament expanded its system of protected areas by […]

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