PhD project: Conservation of Mongolia's Wild Camels (Camelus ferus)
The wild camel is critically endangered. With less than 1,000 now remaining in the wild, several factors threaten its survival, including habitat loss and degradation, desertification due to climate change, and hybridisation with the domestic Bactrian camel. However, little is known about this species, so vital research is required to better understand these threats and how they are impacting populations.
This unique research project will support the Wild Camel Protection Foundation in achieving its principal conservation aims: (i) to reduce the probability of extinction of the critically endangered wild camel (Camelus ferus); and (ii) to produce a robust management plan to effectively conserve this species in Mongolia. The research will broadly focus on:
- Conducting a population genetics study on both captive and wild camels, including parentage analysis, estimation of genetic diversity and the monitoring of hybridisation with domestic Bactrian camels.
- Producing population estimates of wild camels in the Great Gobi Special Protected Area A (GGSPA’A) using remote camera traps.
- Assessing landscape resource use and movement of wild camels in the GGSPA’A.
- Monitoring post-release success of captive-bred wild camels.
Findings will be used to improve the population assessment process and to produce a scientifically-informed species management plan. The research will also provide the evidence needed for improved management of the species in both its range in the Great Gobi Special Protected Area A and in captivity. This collective body of work will significantly enhance the understanding and conservation of this critically endangered species.
Anna Jemmett is a member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.
Wild Camel Protection Foundation (WCPF)
ZSL CASE funding