Yuan Lei’s expedition to the Aerjin Mountain Reserve

The EDGE Team have just received news of our Bactrian camel EDGE Fellow Yuan Lei’s expedition to the Heidaban region in the Aerjin Mountain Reserve in China. Yuan Lei sent us his detailed travel journal along with pictures which told of his amazing trip through this extreme terrain.

Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve is located in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions of the People’s Republic of China.

This region is characterized by a predominantly dry climate, sparse vegetation and extremely harsh natural conditions. It is incredible that even in this severely adverse natural environment, a variety of unique flora and fauna still exists. This existence however hangs in the balance and with increased human activities in this desert ecosystem, the surviving kingdom of these rare and unique species are shrinking swiftly.

Protection of this rare ecosystem is critical, not only because it provides sanctuary for populations of Bactrian camels, but also for other endangered wildlife such as the Kiang, Argali sheep, Black-tailed gazelle, Blue sheep, Grey wolf, Snow leopard and Gobi bear.

Due to the increase of mining and domestic livestock grazing in the vicinity of the Aerjin Mountain, I organised an expedition team of seven people to investigate the impacts of human encroachment. Setting out in mid September, the teams split among three vehicles and set out into the Lop Nur Wild Camel Nature Reserve.

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Our expedition covered the extreme terrain of the Lapeiquan Spring region to Heidaban and Sanjiaotan along the Arjin Mountain.

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The first leg of the expedition covered 700km and took us from Urumqi, past Turpan to Hami city where we spent the night.

Setting off the next day, we covered a further 650km passing through Xingxingxia, into Gansu province via Liuyuan and Dunhuang to arrive in The Akesai county. Here we bought more supplies mostly consisting of food, water and fuel for our long journey ahead….

To be continued…..

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