The Golden Eagle has borne witness to the struggle of human survival on the steppes of central Asia since time immemorial. More than a thousand years before Temujin united the rival clans and was crowned Genghis Khan (Chinggis Khaan - universal king), extending the Mongol empire from Beijing to the Caspian Sea, the eagle is believed to have stood upon the arm of Asiatic hunters of the steppes providing food and pelts from its prey. As with the eagle's dependence upon the seasonally changing environments of their natural world, so are the lives of the Mongol nomads to this day.
In November 1999 Dr. Bill Burnham, President of The Peregrine Fund, a non-profit conservation organization which works to conserve birds of prey in nature, with Board member and fashion designer Robert Comstock, Dr. Sheldon Severinghaus, a University of California, Berkeley Visiting Scholar in Mongolia, and photographer Daniel O'Neill had the opportunity to visit Mongolia and meet with eagle falconers and conservationists. The common interest in the eagle and birds of prey and Dr. Burnham's experience as a falconer and biologist helped bridge cultural boundaries and establish a common bond for discussions. Mongolian national and local nature conservation priorities were identified to which The Peregrine Fund can contribute.
Ecologically, Mongolia is the joining place for several Central Asian environments and the last place many species still occur on the continent. Environments vary greatly from high mountains with glaciers to deserts. Much of the country's natural beauty and environments remain unchanged by human actions, but development driven by the country's needs and desires are now, more than ever, changing the cultural and natural systems. To preserve Mongolia's past traditions and nature will require a careful balance of planing and actions, particularly during the early part of the 21st century. The Peregrine Fund is now working with, and in support of, Mongolian biologists and conservationists toward helping achieve that balance.
The opportunity is provided through the financial support of Thinsulate Ultra Insulation and the Robert Comstock Company. The Peregrine Fund's homepage provides a country profile on Mongolia and day-by-day account from the trip located under "Conservation Projects" and "Notes From the Field," respectively. Resulting actions and planned projects are summarized there and in the organization's 1999 Annual report.
For more information, contact:
Director of Global Engagement