A 24-strong team, including members from the Scientific Exploration Society, spent the majority of July in the Baatar Mountain region of the sovereign East Asian state, where they undertook botanical and archaeological studies, and ran dental clinics for the local populace.
Col Blashford-Snell’s group of explorers – including Jersey horticulturalist Sally Dalman, Mongolian professors, zoologists, qualified doctors and a dentist – also handed out reading glasses donated in Britain to local people, and textbooks to two universities.
‘This was a most successful expedition in which we recorded 59 types of bird, 19 species of mammal and 80 species of vertebrates,’ said Col Blashford-Snell.
He said that one of the highlights of the expedition was spotting the ‘Przewalski’s horse’, which at one time was extinct in the wild until they were reintroduced into Mongolia.
‘These animals are the last remnant of the wild horses of the world,’ he said. ‘They have the shape of a zebra without the stripes.’
They were also captivated by the sight of the snub-nosed saiga antelope.
‘It’s an extraordinary animal, but their numbers are down to about 400 in the country,’ he added.
Col Blashford-Snell’s team was able to provide reports and photos of the antelopes to the Mongolian department of the World Wildlife Fund, which is seeking to conserve the species.
Under the colonel’s direction, the group also educated Mongolian children about the importance of helping to protect the local wildlife – and returned unscathed from an attack by what he described as ‘mosquitoes legendary for their persistence’.