Mammal WatchingTrip Reports

Mammal watching: 10-23 August, 2013 – by John Pilgrim

Mongolian Gobi

10-23 August 2013

John Pilgrim & Conrad Savy


(7-9 August: a short work trip, near Khanbogd in Omnogovi Aimag)

10-13 August: three nights in Ikh Nart Nature Reserve

14-17 August: nights in Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park

18-20 August: south of Gobi Gurvansaikhan (Zurumtai area; Hurmen; to c. 80km north of the Chinese border)

21-23 August: two nights at Hustai Nuruu National Park (with Purevsuren Tsolmonjav)

Train travel to, and accommodation in, Ikh Nart was arranged by. All travel arrangements from 14-20 August were arranged by the wonderful Khumbaa Tumendelger (Tumen) and Oyunaa Bavuu (Oyunaa) of Tumen Ecological Tourism Company (websites:;

Some small mammals were trapped, or hand-caught, to aid identification. We also missed a Steppe Polecat Mustela eversmanii, seen late at night by the side of the road south of Dalanzadgad by Tumen on 20th.

  1. Long-eared Hedgehog Hemiechnus auritus – one just south of Dalanzadgad on 20th.
  2. Daurian Hedgehog Mesechinus dauuricus – one in Hustai Nuruu on 21st.
  3. Corsac Fox Vulpes corsac – one at Ikh Nart on 10th; then singles/pairs infrequently south of Hurmen.
  4. Red Fox Vulpes vulpes – uncommon throughout.
  5. Wild Cat Felis silvestris – one watched hunting for some time at Ikh Nart on the morning of 13th.
  6. Pallas’s Cat Otocolobus manul – one watched hunting briefly by JP at Ikh Nart in the early morning of 11th, after a night of rain, before it appeared to see us and ran off.
  7. Snow Leopard Panthera uncia – seen twice briefly by JP and Tumen in Gobi Gurvansaikhan on 16th, after we staked out a hillside where a mother and cubs had been seen a week before.
  8. European Marbled Polecat Vormela peregusna – one watched for a prolonged period on 18th, south of Hurmen, was a highlight of the trip. It was initially following a Corsac Fox around, occasionally biting its tail, and when we came too close in the car, it threatdisplayed at us!
  9. Przewalski’s Horse Equus ferus – common in Hustai Nuruu.
  10. Asiatic Wild Ass Equus hemionus – a total of 87 in several groups, from the road from Khanbogd to Gashuun Sukhait, on 8th.
  11. Red Deer Cervus elaphus – uncommon at Hustai Nuruu.
  12. Siberian Ibex Capra sibirica – single figures throughout throughout rocky areas of the Gobi, including 7 at Ikh Nart on 11th, with some great views in the research camp valley.
  13. Goitered Gazelle Gazella subgutturosa – small numbers throughout the Gobi, with >20 in the Zurumtai area on 18th.
  14. Argali Ovis ammon – c.12 at Ikh Nart on 11th, including some very close views; 4 at Yolyn Am, Gobi Gurvansaikhan on 15th.
  15. Mongolian Gazelle Procapra gutturosa – just one mother and calf in Hustai Nuruu on 22nd.
  16. Mongolian Marmot Marmota sibirica – common in Hustai Nuruu.
  17. Alashan Ground Squirrel Spermophilus alashanicus – common in the plains around Gobi Gurvansaikhan.
  18. Daurian Ground Squirrel Spermophilus dauricus – one in Hustai Nuruu on 22nd.
  19. Red-cheeked Ground Squirrel Spermophilus erythrogenys – small numbers south of Hurmen.
  20. Long-tailed Ground Squirrel Spermophilus undulatus – common at Hustai Nuruu.
  21. Balikun Jerboa Allactaga balikunica – fairly common south of Hurmen, but exact abundance unclear owing to confusion with the next species when not in the hand.
  22. Gobi Jerboa Allactaga bullata – fairly common south of Hurmen, but exact abundance unclear owing to confusion with the next species when not in the hand.
  23. Siberian Jerboa Allactaga sibirica – uncommon south of Hurmen; small numbers at Hustai Nuruu.
  24. Northern Three-toed Jerboa Dipus sagitta – several at Ikh Nart on 11th; then common south of Hurmen.
  25. Long-eared Jerboa Euchoreutes naso – two seen very well, after a lot of searching, c. 80km north of the Chinese border on 20th.
  26. Thick-tailed Pygmy Jerboa Salpingotus crassicauda – two on 18th, south of Hurmen.
  27. Andrews’s Three-toed Jerboa Stylodipus andrewsi – common south of Hurmen.
  28. Mid-day Gerbil Meriones meridianus – probably this species once at Ikh Nart; uncommon around, and south of, Gobi Gurvansaikhan.
  29. Mongolian Gerbil Meriones unguiculatus – common around, and south of, Gobi Gurvansaikhan (more so than the previous species).
  30. Great Gerbil Rhombomys opimus – colonies common in and around Saxaul forest anywhere south of Gobi Gurvansaikhan.
  31. Daurian Pika Ochotona dauurica – common at Gobi Gurvansaikhan.
  32. Pallas’s Pika Ochotona pallasi – abundant at Ikh Nart; also probably common at Gobi Gurvansaikhan but we were never fully confident about identification from the former species.
  33. Tolai Hare Lepus tolai – singles regularly, including west of Khanbogd, south of Gobi Gurvansaikhan, and at Hustai Nuruu.