Mongolian Wildlife

Mongolian Wildlife and Nature

Wild animals in Mongolia

Mongolia is home to many of the animal populations in the world because of the high mountains, vast steppes, sandy desert, lakes and rivers, and four seasons of the year, with a variety of natural and geographical conditions.

Animal Species:
  • Birds – 434 species
  • Mammals – 138 species
  • Reptiles – 22 species
  • Fish – 75 species
  • Amphibians – 6 species
  • Insects – 13000 species
  • Mollusks – 516 species
 Endangered animals
  • Elk or Red Deer
  • Marbeled Polecat
  • Stone Martin
  • Wild Boar
  • Black Tailed Gazelle
  • Pallas’ cat or Manul
  • Musk Deer
  • Mongolian Saiga
  • Siberian Ibex
  • Wild sheep or Argali
  • Snow Leopards
  • Wild Camel or Khavtgai
  • Gobi Bear or Mazaalai
  • The Swan Goose
  • Black Storks
  • Great Black-Headed Gulls
  • Whooper Swans
  • Great White Egrets
  • Dalmatian Pelican
  • Spoonbills
  • Lammergeyer
  • Golden Eagle
  • Cenereous Vulture
  • Snowcock or Altain ular

Specific animals in Mongolia


Despite the landlocked status, Mongolia’s many deep water lakes and rivers are teeming with fish, particularly during September and October and has 64 different species of pure and salt water fishes and 28 of them are suitable for fishing. Besides taimen, a distant relative of the Atlantic salmon, anglers vie for lenok (a type of trout), grayling and pike, among others.

Tul or taimen

Taimen is called as a king of the fish in Mongolia and it defines the purity of current river or lake. Taimens are generally olive green on the head blending to reddish brown in the tail. The belly ranges from nearly white to dark gray. During the mating season appearance changes into bronze red and reaches maturity in  six to seven years becomes ready to mate. Most mature fish caught weigh from 15 to 30 kg and migrates to deep water when body mass increases. Baby taimen mostly feed by insects for first 2-3 years and starts hunting by fish. Taimens dinner table is filled with various species of fish, birds and gnawers. Female taiment produces 14000 cavier at least, but only 2 or 3 of them becomes the king of the river.

In Mongolia, we can find taimen in river Selenge, all the lakes of Darkhad plateau and buir lake. Recent years it has been considered as endangered species, so registered I Mongolian red book of rare species.

Lammergeier or Vulture

Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight. It is said that the bearded vulture (“yol” in Mongolian) originates from Umnugovi aimag. The bearded vulture is apparently a sharp-sighted and high flying bird. Recently, the Local Residents` Representative Khural announced the recognition of the bearded vulture as the Pride of the Gobi Desert.

The bearded vulture is found in the mountains of Bayanbor, Tostiin nuruu, Sevrei, Nemegt, Altan, Noyod and Gobi Gurvansaikhan in Umnugovi aimag.

In Mongolia, hunting of the bearded vulture was banned from 1953. The bird was added to the rare animal list of Mongolia by a Government decision in 2012.


Falcon is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. There are 62 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in Mongolia.

  1. Lesser kestrel
  2. Eurasian kestrel
  3. Red-footed falcon
  4. Amur falcon
  5. Merlin
  6. Eurasian hobby
  7. Saker falcon
  8. Gyrfalcon
  9. Barbary falcon
  10. Peregrine falcon

Amur falcan is considered as common species but other species are migratory rare species. Biggest of them all are eurasian kestrel and white falcon which comes  to mongolia in winter time from nirth pole. Falcons family is about 6 million by the statistic of 2016.

They nest on the tree, tree hollows, rooftop of any building, or on plain sites in between rocks.

Argali Wild sheep

The name ‘argali’ is the Mongolian word for wild sheep. It is the largest species of wild sheep. Argali stand 85 to 135 cm (3 to 4 ft) high at the shoulder and measure 136 to 200 cm (4 to 7 ft) long from the head to the base of the tail. The argali, or the mountain sheep is a wild sheep that roams the sandy and rocky highlands of Altai muntain range, Umnugobi, Inner gobi of altai range and Khuvsgul. Argali considered as endangered species and spreads 110 sums of 15 province throughout the mongolia.

Argali weighes up to 220 kg and heights of 120 cm and deifines by considerate hearing abilities, sharp eyes and high sense of smell. When it gets cautious takes speed up to 60 km and  migrates up to 300 km from one mountain range to another.

Argali prefer to stay in shadow filled parts of the mountain and rests in the shadow of steep crack. We can count argali’s age by its horn bump. and gives birth to only one lamp usually. Argali reach breeding maturity at two to three years of age and gives birth to only one lamp usually. Argali’s horn reaches up to 1.5 m and estimated value of 50 000 dollars and without poacher damage, it can age up to 13 years.

Saiga Antelope or Mongol buxun.

One of the endangered species of eurasian mammals is Mongolia buxun or saiga antelope, and once there were 5 different species of saiga anteleope in the world but now only two of them have survived which is Mongol buxun and sorgog buxun. Mongol buxun is sole surviver from ancient altai mountain range and Mongolian gobi desert. Buxun is a native of western altai, great lakes concavity, Khovd, Sharga of Gobi-Altai, Khuis gobi and Durgun plateau. It has pale yellow looking furred skins, small humpy back with sizable chest, hooknosed big head ike moose and almost has no tail. Mongolians call it “buxun-humpbaked” because of its considerate nature of running away while putting its head in between legs. It herds by fock and fertilize soil by it dump. They do not even duel with other herding species due to its own unique habit and usually ages up to 5 years and gives birth to up to two calfs.

Gobi bear

This species of bear only live in Mongolian gobi desert and during 20th century, russian researchers discovered gobi bear as a species of brown bear and native to Gobi desert. Genetical research also prove that himalyan bear has same genial code to one another. Russian scientists counted just 50 of Gobi bear or mazaalai during the 1960 to 1970s, and 40 in 1991, and in 2016 population decreased to only 26. Therefore saving them is much more important than saving pandas.

Mating season starts  inbetween may and July, and gives birth to one or two cubs. Cubs live with their mums until age of three and feed by various type of plants and milk.

During the harsh spring, Mazaalai mostly feed by animal carcasses, insects and small rodents. The reason of the decrees in mazaalai population is being not able to find each other during mating season due to the humans overpopulation in mazaalia’s living environment. An interesting thing is mazaalai’s back two legs have same footprings. Sometimes mazaalai shows strange behaviour of drunk man such as roaring and throwing stones at live stocks  when eat sour fruits in summer time.

Przewalski’s horse or Mongol takhi

Takhi is considered as the ancestor of Mongolian horse. In 1883, researcher on central asia, Nicolai Przewalski saw two wold horses on the way Bulgan river from Borkh river and on the way, he also found a skin and skull of horse and sent it to be made diagnosis by  Poliyakow. I.S, zoologist.  Poliyakow. I.S compared the sample with 22 different species of hoofed animals and declared it as a new species. Takhi adaptaed to plain plateau and semi arid places such as gobi desert and pastures in night time. Takhi has rather sizable heads than horsers with vertical manes, stripped wide neck and sparsely haired tail. 5-15 takhis make a flock with a stallion. Young or older stallions often challenge with others to have rights to mate and winner takes all except 1 or 2 loyal mares will follow the previous stallion. New stallion will kill old stallion’s colt when it been born. Stallions are loyal to its mare and even when it lost its mare, stallion even challenge again to get them back.

Takhi’s deit consists of vegitation. In 1945, 31 wilde takhi were counted in wild and considered as extinct in wild in 1960s, but in 1992, few takhi had been brought back from european zoos to Khustain range and Khom tali with  the help of Cristain osvald foundation of Germany. While ago in 1901, Carl Hagenbeck of Hamburg zoo came to Mongolia and captured 51 takhi’s colts to europe, unfortunately, only 28 of them made alive to the destination and 12 of them sent to Bedford’s duke to have his own manor.

From rests eight colts had been sold to Halle, Holland, New york and manchester each two and one had been sent to Paris. After this profitable sales Carl Hagenbeck came to Mongolia in two years row,  got so many colts, but only 14 of them made to europe safely. Those descendants of Mongol takhi had been living and breeding in european zoos, and 15 takhis sent back to Mongolia through Russian land in 1992 and after that every three years, 18 to 20 takhis had been brought back to Mongolia and total of 84 takhis and first colt been born in 1993 and total number of takhis are now more than 500 numbers, which considered as safe number for further future.

Snow leopard.

There are 69 species of wild cats live on earth and about 700 to 1200 number of snow leopards inhabit in Mongol altai, Khankhukhii, Kharkhiraa turgen mountins, Khordil saridag of Khuvsgul etc and whch covers 107 sums of 10 province.

Leopard has smaller head, long fluffy tail, which is measured same as its body length. Leopard uses its tail to cover its cub and to find its balance. Most of leopard differs from other cats by small black spot and round  ears which depends on surrounding of current species. Leopard reaches up to 2.5 m length, 65 cm height, weighs 55 kg and lives around 20 years.

Leopard inhabits in mountain area in summer time but in winter, comes down to downhill due to food. The most vicious enemy of leopard is human and rarely attacked by wolf packs. Leopard jumps up to 6 meter by one jump, hunts in night time using high sensened ears and sights. They migrates in 160 km3 area and lives alone except mating. The mating starts around february and female give birth to 2 cubs in 100 days and newborn cubs are born with eyes shut and opens in 10 days. After birth cubs start eating meat in two months and plays around its nest. Wild goat, argali, marmot, ordents and some species of bird stays on leopard’s dinner table. Leopard keeps the balance of those animal by eating sick or old ones. Slender times  leopard invades to lifestock of surrounding herders. Hunting leopard was forbidden  1972 in Mongolia, and considered as endangered species in both Mongolia and internationally.

Nowadays, only 6000 numbers of leopard live in 12 countries. Leopard is one indicator of its natures untouched splender.

Yangir or Siberien ibex.

There are eight spcies of wild goat inhabits and yangir is one of them. Its height is 110 cm, length is 160 cm and weighed up to 150 kg, and has big pointy horns which reaches up to 140 cm. Yangir flock consists of up to 5 numbers but when it gets cold number usually increases up to 20. Yangir mostly stays on rough edges of pointy rocky mountins.

Plants in Mongolia

Mongolia is a country in central Asia bordering China and Russia with a broad range of plant species. The country’s plants provide food and habitats for many different animals and are used for decorations, while some have medicinal value as well. Mongolia shares much of its native flora with Russia, China, and the Korean Peninsula. Some of the plant species in Mongolia are classified as threatened due to the fast spreading desert. The whole of Mongolian region is a convergence and coexistence of plants which originated from the great Siberian Taiga and central Asia Steppe and desert. Around 975 species out of the 3,000 flowering plant species found there are utilized for traditional medicine in the country. Most of these plants are wild and are adapted to the extreme weather conditions in the country. Many of these native plant species are found in the Mongolian Altai, Gobi Altai, and the Khangai regions.

Mongolia is characterized by its vast territory, its mountains, depressions, and extreme continental climate, so it is quite unique for vegetation, and three main areas – forest taiga, steppe, and desert – are evolving.

These regions are gradually shifting each other and creating transverse or intermediate regions.

There are 6 regions which are adapted to the landscape and climate of Mongolia had been created.

  1. High mountain or alpine region
  2. Taiga and mountainous region
  3. Mountainous forest steppe region
  4. Dry steppe region
  5. Desert steppe region
  6. Desert region