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A day with a nomadic Camel herder in Mongolia:

The young domesticated Bactrian Camels to the left in the picture are tethered to a string. This keeps them from running to their mothers and bothering them when grazing. The Camel mares will go out on their own looking for some good pastures during the day. In the evening the youngsters get noisy and the parents need only little nudging by a herder to return. Back at the herder's ger (a kind of mobile home) the mares are molken first, the young animals can then have the milk that's left. Some of the particularly hungry young will empty the udders of different mares which these don't seem to mind.

The Camel herder's wife fabricates yoghurt from the milk, part of the yoghurt is used as beverage (ayran), as a cream (our yoghurt) or is dried in the sun to provide bisquits (see the workshop posting) but also hard cheese. Such foodstuff can be stored, milk itself would perish quickly. Of course, tea, yoghurt, bisquits and cheese all have a similar, sour taste, that is why Camel herders also keep a few sheep and goats for the occasional Mongolian barbecue. And yes, they buy potatoes and carrots in town.

PS: there only a few hundred individuals of the wild, undomesticated Bactrian Camel left in their native habitat, the Gobi steppe. Mongolia holds maybe a hundred of them in the "Gobi A Strictly Protected Area", some more are found in NW China.

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Additional Photos by Dietrich Meyer (meyerd) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 54 N: 655] (1626)
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