The Mongolian (animal) kingdom
When I was writing my previous post about the prevalence of horses in Mongolian folk songs, I realized I hadn’t talked about any of the animals we saw during our sojourn through the countryside.
In general, animals in Mongolia keep to themselves and don’t seem bothered by either cars or humans. What is especially interesting is that the animals tend to roam quite freely, even if they are part of a particular herder’s herd. In the first ger camp I stayed in, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (a real flush toilet, a rare commodity in rural Mongolia) and found three horses wandering around amid the gers. Cows can be seen wandering through the streets of just about any villages, and sheep and goats are everywhere. What was really amazing is that we saw two other kinds of animals that usually live in other parts of the country — camels, which are very common in the southern Gobi area, and yaks, which inhabit the mountains further north from where we were. Here are some of the creatures I caught with my camera along the way: