Mongolian vegetation show characteristics developed over time due to regional conditions, environment and climate. Mongolia is the site of convergence and co-existence of flora which originates both from the Great Siberian Taiga and the Central Asian Steppe and Desert. In addition to this Mongolian flora has gained plant species from China in the east and from the Kazakhstan Turan area in the west. The gradual transition from the High Mountain Taiga through to the mountain forest steppe and flat grassy plains on to the semi-desert and true desert areas, represent the features of the World's three basic types of vegetation regions. This variety is reflected in the change of precipitation and distribution of plants starting from the foot hills to the top of the mountain ranges in vertical belts. There are 845 species of medicinal plants, over 1,000 species of fodder plants, 173 species of food plants, 64 species of technical plants, 489 species of ornamental plants and 195 species of all kinds of significant plants in Mongolia.
At present, out of seeding varieties of plants in Mongolia, 2095 species are herbaceous plants and 348 species are woody and shrubby plants. From the woody and shrubby plant varieties, 17 species are big trees, 40 species are short trees and shrub, 146 species of shrub, 48 species of sub-shrubs, 91 species of partial sub-shrubs, 6 species of fodder and herbaceous, 1765 species of longevity plant, 330 species of one and two age vascular plant, 21 families of flat moss, 38 families of leafy moss, 53 families of lichen, 1236 species and sub-species of algae and 900 species of mushroom were registered. There are relics from prehistoric deserts, forests, tertiary lakes, savannahs and the Ice Age. Many plant relics are native to Mongolia. There are about 150 endemic vascular and lower plants such as Stipa mongolorum, Adonis mongolica, Betula mongolica, Atraphaxis bracteata, Calligonum gobicum, Nanophyton mongolicum, Gymnocarpus przewalskii, Silene mongolica, Potaninia mongolica, Chesneya mongolica, Astragalus gobicus, Oxytropis ulzii-chutagii and Armisia gobica. The Khangai, Gobi-Altai and Mongolian Altai regions are the most abundant regions, species wise.
86 plant species were registered as endangered and threatened in the first edition of the Mongolian Red Book, in the second edition (1997), the number was already 128. This group includes 75 medicinal species, 11 for food, 16 species used in industry, 55 decorative species and 15 species used in the soil fixing process and in controlling pests. This group includes Nitraria sibirica , Amygdalus mongolica, Populus diversifolia, Caragana bungei, Artemisia caespitosa, Sophora alopecuroides, Allium altaicum, Adonis mongolica, Saussurea involucrate, Agriophyllum pungens, elaeagnes moorcroftii, Aves sibirica, Gemnocvarpus przewalskii, Rodiola rosea, Allium oliquum etc. Parliament passed a Law on the International Trading of Animal and Plants, and related items last year. The law is in line with its membership of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
Animals adapted to all kings of ecosystems such as forest, steppe, desert, alpine, tundra, talus, and water surrounding grove, have established themselves in Mongolia. Many animals, which are frequently spread throughout the Siberian taiga, European-type forests, western Asia and Turan desert, are included in the aforementioned animals. As well as these, there are many endemic species, which are found only in deserts and steppes of Central and Eastern Asia. Mongolia has extinct animals and takes a leading place in the world by its more precious finds of fossils and pre-historic bones. A total of 138 species of mammals, 449 species of birds, 75 species offish, 6 species of amphibians and 22 species of reptiles have been registered on the animal kingdom list of Mongolia. Besides these, there are more than 13,000 species of invertebrates, including 516 species of insects, worms, fresh water and terrestrial molluscs etc., in Mongolia.
Of the above mentioned animals 24 mammals are basic hunting animals, 32 hunted by just a few and 4 are not to be hunted. A total of 30 species and sub-species mammals are listed in the rare and very rare classifications of the Mongolian Red Book, which was revised in 1997. Distribution areas of the Gobi bear (Ursus pruinosis), wild camel (Camalus bactrianus), Equus przewalskii, Elk, Scrofa nigripes and Asian beaver have been given state special protection. Also over 70 percent of distribution areas of snow-leopard, Equus hemionus, river otter, haze musk deer, Ovis amman and Capra Sibrica have been involved in the State Special Protection area's network. Works of newly acclimatising and re-acclimatising valuable hunting animals like the muskrat, stoat, raccoon dog, procapra fulturosa, moschus moschiferus, wild horse, Asian beaver and capra sibrica is being carried out in the country.
The Takhi are the last remaining wild horses worldwide. It is also known as the Przewalski horse (named after the Russian explorer who first discovered the horse in 1878 in Mongolia) is probably the most recognised and successful symbol of the preservation and protection of Mongolia's diverse and unique wildlife. The last wild Mongolian Takhi was spotted in the western Gobi in 1966. However, the Mongolian Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment and the Dutch Foundation Reserve of Przewalski Horses reintroduced the first horses in 1992. Mongolian Takhi populations located in Khustai Nuruu in Tov aimag and Bugat soum of Govi-Altai aimag have reached around 200 over the last decade. In 2004 the 20 Takhi horses will be re-introduced in Khomiin Tal bufferzone of Khar-Us Nuur National Park, with finance from TAKHI, France and WWF Mongolia. Research conducted from 1998 to 2000 concluded that the reintroduction of Takhi to Khomiin Tal was possible due to its low population density and potential to contain up to 500 horses.
Gobi Bear (Ursus Pruinosis)
According to a comparative survey on breeding of Gobi bear the male begins to breed from five years and the female starts from four years. Scientifically effective measures for protecting the Gobi bears' genetic resources are required. An observation was undertaken into Gobi bears' locations such as the Khukh Ders, Khatuu Bulag, Allan Tevsh, Suuj Bulag, Mukhar Zadgai, Tsagaan Burgas, Khushoot and Sharkhuls oasis. As a result of the observation, new footprints of the Gobi bear were revealed at the source of Khajuu Bulag (spring) of the Segs Tsagaan Bogd Mountain, as well as a photo and video recording of a fully grown Gobi bear, which was eating fodder. Also new footprints of one or two gobi bears at the Tsagaan Tohoi fodder point and near the spring Khajuu Bulag were measured and recorded.
So far 434 species of birds, belonging to 193 genera, 56 families and 17 orders, have been registered and observed in Mongolia. More than 330 species from this are migratory and the remaining 104 species inhabit Mongolia year-round. Approximately 50 species migrate through Mongolia and 20 species are observed here occasionally. The Mongolian Red Book contains a register of 30 bird species, which are not only rare worldwide but are also rare in Mongolia. As an important act of conservation, parts of big lakes and rivers , which are densely inhabited by birds, such as lakes: Khuvusgul, Uvs, Khar-Us, Dayan, Khorgo, Terkhiin Tsagaan, were protected. The Daguur, Dornod and Numrug Strictly Protected Areas were established in order to protect the Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus, White-naped Crane Grus vipio, Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata, Black Stock Ciconia nigra, Dalamatian Pelican Pelicanus crispus, White Spoonbill Platelea Leucorodia, Baikal Teal Anas formosa, Asiatic Dowitcher Limnodromus semiplamatus and Relict Gull Larus relictus.
Because Mongolia is a landlocked country and is situated in the Centre of the Asian continent, there are only fishes of river and lake varieties in the country. Mongolian rivers and lakes are classified into three basins: Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Central Asia. Animals in each basin create a specific composition. There are 75 species offish, belonging to 36 genera and 11 families living in the Mongolian water basin. As researchers determined, up to 700 tones of fish could be taken every year from Mongolia's lakes and rivers at present. According to the Environment Ministry report, since 2000, the fishing quota has decreased year by year. For instance, 322 tons offish in 2001 and 250 tons in 2002 were allowed. "The Mongolian Law on Hunting" adopted in 1995, supported by other laws and regulations, has played an important role in the development of fish cultures, and the conservation of fish species in this country. According to the provisions of this law, the Amur Sturgeon Acipenser shrenki and Siberian or Baikal Sturgeon Acipenser Baeri are listed as protected and the Glass ( Chinese ) Carp Ctenogharyngodon idella, Silver Carp Hypophthalmicthys molitrix, and Tench Tinea tinea, are registered as endangered . In addition , 6 species of fish have been included in the Mongolian Red Book and necessary measures have been taken to conserve these species. In order to preserve the fish stocks on a larger scale and to maintain favourable conditions for their breeding, several lakes, such as the Khuvsgul, Uvs, Terkhiin Tsagaan, Dayan, Khoton, Khar Us lakes and some important parts of rivers have been categorised as protected areas.