Middle East trip, report 1

I just spent a few days in the Middle East looking for various rodents and other (mostly small) mammals. I broke the trip report into two parts. Here is the first part: Syria, Iraq and Bahrain, June 2021, 4 days and 26 species including golden hamster and long-tailed bandicoot rat. The former was the last hamster I hadn’t seen in the wild and the latter has never before been seen alive in the wild by a naturalist, so it’s kinda cool. The trip wasn’t: in Iraqi swamps it was over 50 C with very high humidity. If you decide to visit that great wetland system, I strongly recommend going in winter 🙂


  • Carlos Bocos

    Good haul! Link doesnt work, at least for me!



  • Charles Hood

    The classic book on the Iraq wetlands would be “The Marsh Arabs” by 20th century explorer Wilfred Thesiger.

    It is a good thing my wife never reads any of the reports on this site. Between Jon Hall dodging cartels and Vladimir, she would never want me to go with anybody else associated with this site ever again. Supposedly Phil Telfer and company narrowly missed an encounter with Al-Qaeda in Algeria was it?

    I have heard that National Geographic buys its war zone staff “K & R” (kidnap and random) insurance. This site has featured posts on camera lenses and heat scopes, so maybe we need to start a new thread on what to do in case of abduction. That would be a good topic once the okapi rises up more urgently on Jon Hall’s wish list. I’ve already told my wife that if I snuff it on a trip, Jose Gabriel gets to have my Zeiss binoculars and my 4wd truck — assuming either item survives the hypothetical disaster.

    Charles Hood (who went to Japan with Vladimir and lived to tell)

    • Vladimir Dinets

      In case of abduction the fate of anybody here would be grim because no hostage-taker would ever believe our stories. “You are telling me you came all the way here to see jerboas? You think I am an idiot? Here, let me stick this soldering iron up your ass while I sharpen my knife. I’m gonna cut off your body extremities one by one until you tell me who you really work for: C.I.A. or Mossad!”

      That said, I should point out that my trips are always run in very safe and responsible manner. I don’t think I’ve been in a really life-threatening situation since my first child was born six years ago.

      • bonnie shirley

        I know if I ever went anyplace like this and was kidnapped, exactly ZERO people would chip in to pay any ransom. I always have wanted to get a fake Brazilian passport but don’t know how to access the dark web and am afraid that if I use Google to search for “fake passport”, I’ll be put on a watch list. My life sucks.

        • Vladimir Dinets

          I think “my life sucks” statement should be reserved for much worse situations 🙂 Imagine having only an Iranian passport and trying to travel with it.

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