The Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to help slow down and reverse the desertification of the Mongolian Grassland Steppes, and to preserve and protect traditional Mongolian culture. We strive toward these goals by resuscitating the traditional use of the livestock guardian dog known as the ‘Bankhar dog’.
MBDP researches, breeds, and trains Mongolian Bankhar livestock protection dogs and places these working dogs in homes of nomadic herding families on the Mongolian steppe, where the Bankhar perform their traditional role of protecting livestock herds (sheep, goat, horse, camel, yak) against large carnivorous predators including snow leopards, wolves, brown bears, foxes and eagles.
Lethal predator control (shooting, trapping, poison) and retribution killings of predators are major threats to predator populations in Mongolia. The use of the Livestock Protection Dog has been shown to reduce depredation on domestic livestock by 80-100%, reducing the need for lethal predator control and encouraging predators to target natural prey species instead of domestic ones.
Desertification of Mongolia’s ecosystems is the greatest threat to the traditional Mongolian way of life and to the well-being of the majority of Mongolia’s threatened wildlife species. Loss of grasses and soil leads to limited grazing areas needed by both the natural communities and the human communities within Mongolia.
It is the hope of MBDP that the use of the Bankhar Dog along with some incentives offered by MBDP will allow a herder to practice pastoral husbandry that has a less detrimental impact on the Mongolian ecosystem (less dense herds, more frequent moves to new pastures, higher variability of livestock type, and less reliance on just one livestock species for income). The project will provide incentives to herders who request a Bankhar which will allow herders to diversify their livestock and use livestock husbandry methods that benefit both the herder and help mitigate ecological damage.
“Having been a longtime animal conservationist I appreciated the conflict for the Mongolian herders of either being forced to kill the endangered snow leopard and wolves or sacrifice their own sheep. Restoring the Bankhar dog, an historic (proven) guardian for their herds seemed (a no-brainer and) an endeavor worth supporting.” –Mimi Kirk