Hustai National Park Mongolia
Park Range Area: 506 sq km (195 sq mi)
Elevation: 1,800 m (5,900 ft)
Location: Tov province, Central Mongolia
Distance: 100 km (62 mi) from Ulaanbaatar
Established: In 1993. Upgraded to a National Park in 1998
Khustain Nuruu ational park also known as Hustai NP has had remarkable success in re-introducing the Takhi wild horse and become one of the top travel destinations in Mongolia. The 50,000-hectare park, steppe and forest-steppe environment is also a great habitat of locally and globally endangered mammals and birds. There have been 459 species of plants, 85 species of lichens, 90 species of mosses, 33 species of mushrooms, and 55 species of mammals and 223 species of birds registered in the park.
Hustai National Park : A Destination for Nature Lovers
Viewing the last true wild horses on earth
Just a hundred kilometers from the capital city with 1,6 million people, you can find the peaceful natural spectacle, the Hustai National Park which is the best known as a home to the Takhi or Przewalski's horse, the last surviving wild horse in the world.
The story about this iconic Takhi horse
In 1900s, western researchers had believed that there were no true wild horse species left on earth, after the extinction of Tarpan horse in Europe. But in the Central Asia, especially on Mongolian territory, there were novel species of wild horse discovered which Russian explorer Nikolai Przewalksi first described about this wild horse and named after him in science as Przewalksi’ horse (Equus przewalskii). Mongolian name is Takhi.
Nikolai Przewalksi had crossed Mongolia three times in 1873, 1878 and 1880. On his way back from his second trip in 1878, he had heard an interesting story from Tikhonov. A , the commander of the Russian-Chinese border guards, that Kyrgyz hunters had given him a horse skin and skull as a gift from the Dzungarian Gobi Desert and that there were wild horses in Mongolia.
Since he was not a scientist himself; he was very interested in the subject and gave the skin and skull as a gift to Polyakov. I, a researcher at the St. Petersburg Museum of Natural History. Polyakov compared the 22 known breeds of horses at the time, and in 1881, Przewalski's horse was registered in science as the name of the man who first introduced the horse's skin and skull, noting that it was a completely new species.
Those who wanted to bring the last and only wild horse to their zoos come to the Mongolian Gobi. In 1897-1903 alone, foreign experts hired local people to catch 88 Przewalski's horses from the Mongolian Gobi. But some of them could not arrive in Europe and only 54 foals survived during the operation of transferring from Mongolia to Europe.
And sadly, only 13 foals were bred in zoos. As a result, inbreeding in small Przewalski's populations has increased, genetic diversity has decreased, and life expectancy has shortened.
In 1960s, there are almost no Takhi horses are left in the wild due to climate change and human activities.
So, in 1993, the Dutch Przewalski's Foundation and the Mongolian Environmental Protection Association have launched a joint project to reintroduce the Takhi horse to the Khustai Mountains in Mongolia and that has been successfully implemented. Khustain Nuruu National Park becomes a great wild habitat of those iconic wild horses.
Today, about 2,000 Przewalski's horses in are in the world. They are in reserves and protected areas in more than 30 countries which are descendants of those 13 Przewalski's horses.
In Mongolia today there are more than 800 Takhi horses roaming in the wild, in three protected areas. Rehabilitation works are also being organized in Part B of the Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area of Gobi-Altai province and in Khomyn Tal in Durvuljin village, Zavkhan province. And The best place to see those wild horses in Mongolia is Hustain NP.
They are peacefully grazing over the hills and the best time to see them is during the dusk and dawn. The park offers remarkable documentary to watch to let you know how the wild horses re-intruduced in the area, and about the the other iconic species are inhabiting in the park.
Hustai NP is one of the best bird-watching locations in Mongolia
Hustai National Park of Mongolia is one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) where almost a half of the total bird species in Mongolia have been registered. The park has diverse ecological habitats in small area of 49.932 ha, and that becomes a great place for a variety of bird species during migration and breeding season.
A total of 223 bird species, 119 genera, 43 families and 17 orders have been recorded in the park, including globally threatened species Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) - EN, Lesser Kestrel (F. naumanni) - VU and Great Bustard (Otis tarda) - VU, Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) – NT and Yellow-breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola)- CR.
The park is also a best place to watch Raptors. Birds of prey or raptors are considered keystone species of the mountain forest steppe, grassland steppe and river valley. Khustai National Park is a home to various species of raptors from smaller falcons to the several larger species, namely the Bearded Vulture, Golden Eagle, Steppe Eagle, and are confined exclusively to any areas of the park.
The availability of food and suitable nesting places are the two most important factors limiting these birds. Measures should therefore be taken to protect existing nesting and foraging resources and enhance the supply of these resources through management interventions. More about Birding in Hustai NP visit here.
Hustai NP: A Destination for Wildlife Photographers
The park offers great wildlife photo shooting. Almost all nature photographers to Mongolia visit here to capture the images of some iconic mammals such as Manul or Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul), Grey wolf (Canis lupus) and Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), Red deer (Cervus elaphus), Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa) and Siberian marmot (Marmota sibirica).
Photographing wild animals is not a that easy game, in Khustai NP you can easily shoot the red deer and wild Takhi horse, you can catch the uncommon moments that those two species grazing at the place in the same time.
For the elusive Pallas’s cat, it is primarily nocturnal and very antisocial animal. And it is believed to be almost impossible to encounter this rarely seen creature in daytime in its wild habitat. Pallas’s cat can be found in the semi-desert steppes to mountainous areas in Mongolia, from the southeast to the west region. We did find and photographed it in western Mongolia up to about 3,000 meters above the sea level. And later in Ikh Nart NR it is seen at 1,600 meters and in Khustai NP at about 1,800 meters. So, this adorable small can be possible to found and photographed in the wide variety areas in Mongolia and with the help of specialized local wildlife photography agency and park rangers.
The nearest places to see when you are in the Hustai NP
If you are a culture lover, and once you are in Khustai NP, you can extend your trip to the west to the Orkhon Cultural Valley, the UNESCO heritage site where you can explore historical sites and nomadic culture.
If you are a big fan of nature and wildlife and have limited time so looking to the nearest place to watch and photograph wild animals, we offer Ikh Nart Nature reserve for Argali wild sheep, Gun Galuut nature reserve for birding.
Also you can discover the most visited and most closest destinations from Hustai NP and plus most worthiest photographing places within short time. Visit here to learn more about our 4 Day Mongolia Photography Tour Destinations
Here we suggest you the following tours. Discuss your interests, schedule and needs to our travel specialists are always happy to help you to make your Mongolia Trip wonderful.
All our Hustai National Park Mongolia Tours
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