Mongolia became a satellite of the Soviet Union in the mid-1920s, and for nearly seven decades effectively closed its doors to the outside world. Biologist George Schaller initially visited the country in 1989, and was one of the first Western scientists allowed to study and assess the conservation status of Mongolia's many unique, native wildlife species. Schaller made a number of trips from 1989 to 2018 in collaboration with Mongolian and American scientists, witnessing Mongolia's recovery and transition to a market economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This informative and fascinating new book provides a firsthand account of Schaller's time in this little-known and remote country, where he studied and helped develop conservation initiatives for the snow leopard, Gobi bear, wild camel, and Mongolian gazelle, among other species. Featuring magnificent photographs from his travels, Into Wild Mongolia offers a critical, at times inspiring contribution for those who treasure wildlife, as well as a fresh perspective on the natural beauty of the region, which encompasses steppes, mountains, and the Gobi Desert.
George B. Schaller is a field biologist who is considered one of the founders of contemporary wildlife conservation, known for his research on tigers, mountain gorillas, and giant pandas. He is a senior conservationist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the author of more than a dozen books, including the National Book Award winner The Serengeti Lion. He lives West Lebanon, New Hampshire.
"George Schaller's genius has been to bring the style of the best nineteenth century natural histories together with solid present-day science. Into Wild Mongolia is a superb example of this combination."
– Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
"With great dedication to wildlife in all of its manifestations, George Schaller explores the vast steppes and other habitats of Mongolia. His revelatory explorations will undoubtedly aid the conservation of this unique ecosystem."
– Frans de Waal, author of Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves
"Traveling in remote and unpredictable regions, George Schaller conveys the thrill of sitting near snow leopards, the beauty of vast glowing grasses, and the discovery of thousands of wandering gazelles."
– Amy Vedder, author of In the Kingdom of Gorillas: The Quest to Save Rwanda's Mountain Gorillas
"George Schaller, a true giant, is essentially the original field biologist. His words are living history. This astonishing, vivid book describes a region that has changed, but must never be forgotten."
– Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel
"Luminously written, Into Wild Mongolia introduces us to remote, often cold, and desolate landscapes, animals such as the Bactrian camel, and local characters, richly rendered. We learn to read the wordless movements of elusive creatures like the snow leopard, communicated in the oldest writing on earth, their footprints in soil and snow. George Schaller is an icon; for his dedication to conservation and his love of biodiversity we can only be grateful."
– James Prosek, author of Trout of the World and Eels
"George Schaller presents a fascinating mix of highly focused wildlife observation and moments of joyful wandering through intact countrysides animated by native species."
– Douglas Chadwick, author of Tracking Gobi Grizzlies and The Wolverine Way