WCS 3-Sentence Science

Tracking the Needs of Nomads

Wildlife Conservation Society
2 min readDec 31, 2019

November 22, 2019


Each year, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists publish more than 300 peer-reviewed studies and papers. “WCS 3-Sentence Science” is a regular tip-sheet — in bite sized helpings — of some of this published work.

Here we present work by WCS’s Mongolia and Health Programs on habitat needs of four ungulate species in Mongolia.

  1. Using GPS collars, researchers tracked 40 individuals of four ungulate species (Mongolian gazelle, goitered gazelle, saiga antelope, and Asiatic wild ass) in the Gobi‐Steppe Ecosystem to better understand their habitat needs in Mongolia’s Gobi‐Steppe Ecosystem.
  2. Results showed that ungulates in the resource‐rich steppe tended to move long distances with few revisits (forage‐driven nomadism), while ungulates in the resource‐poor desert tended to move shorter distances with more revisits (water‐driven nomadism).
  3. The results have important implications for conservation strategies; forage‐driven nomads primarily require a high degree of landscape‐level permeability, and water‐driven nomads additionally require the protection of ephemeral water bodies and actions to maintain the functional connectivity between them.

Study and Journal: “Variability in nomadism: Environmental gradients modulate the movement behaviors of dryland ungulates” from Ecosphere
WCS Co-Author(s): Buuveibaatar Bayarbaatar, Lead for Conservation Science, WCS Mongolia; Enkhtuvshin Shiilegdamba, Country Director, WCS Mongolia; Kirk Olson, Science Adviser: OT Core Biodiversity Monitoring Program, Mongolia; Christian Walzer, Director, Wildlife Health Program.

For more information, contact: Stephen Sautner, 718–220–3682, ssautner@wcs.org.

Wildlife Conservation Society

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.