Result of Effective Protection
Positive conservation outcomes in Hustai National Park (HNP) are directly linked to the success of the reintroduction program of the endangered Przewalski’s horse and to the effectiveness of the park’s conservation management. Examples of these outcomes include the following:
HNP has the largest population of Przewalski’s horses living in a defined wild area. Experts from the International Union of Conservation of Nature’s Equid Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission concluded that Mongolia is the only country where truly wild reintroduced populations exist within its historic range (Boyd and King 2011).
In 1969, Przewalski’s horses were listed as extinct in the wild. Its status was reclassified as critically endangered in 2008 and endangered in 2011. The success of the reintroduction program in HNP was the principal factor for “down-listing” the conservation status of the Przewalski’s horse.
A large portion of the pastureland that was previously degraded from human activity near and around soums and agricultural units, and from livestock herds from western aimags to Ulaanbaatar, have gradually recovered. They now exhibit favorable conditions for wildlife. As a result, wildlife diversity has increased dramatically in a short period of time, while grazing remains relatively stable.
The involvement of local residents in conservation and research activities is critical to ensure such projects are successful. The buffer zone of HNP encompasses over 30 communities as well as many herders. HNP Trust (HNPT) has been working closely with people living within the buffer zone. As a result, mutually-beneficial relationships with herder communities have been established.
HNPT has demonstrated its success as the only non-governmental organization in Mongolia that oversees the management of a national park and as the country’s only self-financed national park, relying on its own sources of revenue, rather than government funding.
Since 2002, HNP is a registered affiliate of the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Program (MAB). The program is an Intergovernmental Scientific Program that aims to “establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments” (UNESCO, 2016). In practice, this means that the natural environment and local people are jointly benefiting from HNP.
In 2007 HNPT became a member of the internationally renowned governing conservation body, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).