Tsaatans, known as Reindeer Herder, live in the Khuvsgul Province, Northern Part of Mongolia which is near the border with Russia. Their lives are divided into two different parts which are East and West. It is said that there are approximately 500 tsaatans living in a Tsagaannuur soum.
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The tribal leader of east Taiga is Mr. Ganbaa and his wife Ms. Purvee and we were visited while they were in hibernation. The first day we arrived, we had a talk with leader Ganbaa about the life of taiga, at his home. While we were talking, he said that this year there are full of snows in taiga, and also he said sometimes they come together in the same place to share the latest news of Ulaanbaatar city and other interesting news.
Reindeer are persistent in snow. So that Tsaatans are happier when Taiga is full of snow. Mongolian reindeer are semi- wild animals, so they are not fed by any additional foods.
Enjoy the sun rise from Grandma Suren’s teepee, Urts. Grandma heat the stove before we woke up and teepee warmed up quickly.
You will know how they have such a strong foot and they go faster than you expect, as soon as you ride them.
There are less wild games except wolves around the area where reindeer live, the reason why is that reindeer body smells similar to human body. Main enemy to reindeer is wolf, and reindeer cannot defend itself against wolf.
After long trip like 40 kilometers, we reached the final destination while sun was setting. Even we were so tired, by that time we energized by seeing a large number of reindeer. That was the beginning of our experience with reindeer for few days.
Plant so called white moss usually covered with ice which comes from the first snow is eaten by reindeer.
We brought some salt to feed reindeer, and it was the most appreciated gift for the Tsaatans. Our group members were so happy. Then we just tried to feed baby reindeer by chocolate, but can you imagine cute baby reindeer were eating snickers…
The white reindeer is considered to be sacred.
So then reindeers protected by huge mountains and thick snows. Tsaatans erase the footprint of reindeer to prevent from wolf attack. Because the only enemy of them is a wild wolf.
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