New Article about Herders

New Article about Herders


What happens when the way of life that sustained your family for millennia is no longer compatible with our planet?

SANT, Mongolia — Davaadalai Gongor, 41, tried feeding his family exactly as his ancestors had for thousands of years, traveling these central grasslands of the Asian steppe herding sheep and goats for dairy and wool. It didn’t work.

He did everything as he was taught to do. He grazed his animals on land that his family has relied on as far back as anyone can trace. He lived humbly in a ger — the octagonal tent, sometimes called a yurt in English, in which Mongolian nomads traditionally live — with a herd well within the government’s recommended limit to avoid competing livestock devouring all the grass. He piously maintained a Buddhist shrine. The most vibrant item he owned was a handmade snuff bottle containing a fragrant, snortable tobacco.

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