The takhi field station
World wide the number of thriving training institutions - Geroua (Cameroon), Mweka (Tanzania), active for over 30 years-, attest for a need for trained staff in management and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources in general. In the same vein, judging from the Hustai National Park's time-wise more limited experience, there clearly is a demand for practical training on ecosystem management, comprising both the ecological and socio-economic aspects of nature conservation and range management.
HNP as it is now, started with the successful reintroduction of the Takhi. This project was- and is - followed by scientists and specialists both Mongolian and foreign, working on scientific projects as well as on monitoring for management purposes.
During the initial years, emphasis was put on the training of staff in order to build the capacity for the management of HNP itself. The research program concentrated on the strengthening of the scientific basis for the Takhi-reintroduction program, and on a number of vegetation- and wildlife inventories of the area. Capacity building and research usually combined in an on-the-job training approach for management, protection and research staff. This approach was quite successful as proven by the departure of a good number of staff towards other projects after having spent some time with HNP.
It also attracted students up to Ph.D level, again both Mongolian and from elsewhere, as well as requests for training on subjects in the broad field of ecosystem management, from the level of rangers upwards. Hustai has over the past few years organised a substantial number of courses and workshops with a wide array of participants. Courses are given on the following subjects: fire fighting, how to deal with tourists, introduction in English, computer training, use of GIS, PRA, research in protected areas, takhi reintroduction (international workshop), field ecology, vegetation and plants of HNP, ethology of wolves (international workshop), wildlife of HNP, general ranger training, bird monitoring, research on takhi ecology and ethology, buffer zone development (international workshop), and several International Conferences like a Man and Biosphere Reserve Conference by the UNESCO.
Background of participants in training courses: 40 researchers from 8 countries.