First post: a few mammals from Kyrgyzstan

Hello folks, I’m going to make this short for now, but I will write a more comprehensive trip report at some point in the future.

I’ve just returned from a few months in Kyrgyzstan, and am now completely enthralled by mammal watching. I went primarily to learn Kyrgyz, and to carry out preliminary research on a Phd I was thinking of doing (about nomadic culture). However, it quickly became apparent that I wanted to spend the whole time hiking in the mountains looking for wildlife. So I did that, spending months alone following animal tracks and whatnot. I’ve always loved wildlife and hiking, but never knew much about the former, so I had a lot to learn! Eventually things started falling into place and I began noticing more and more. Following ibex herds around the hillsides was such a treat, and through them I got to know the marmots, snow leopards, bears, lynxes, and argali. I only had a phone and a scope, so my photos aren’t great, but I never set out to photograph snow leopards in the first place. I hope to go back at some point and spend more time with snow leopards and to see a Pallas cat if possible!

I’m from Wales and have just come back from a week’s trip to Scotland, where I saw beavers, red deer, reindeer, red squirrels and pine martens. I’m thinking of doing a trip to Spain sometime next year to see Iberian lynx and wolves.

All in all, seeing snow leopards was a great introduction to mammal watching, I’m only 26, I have a whole lifetime ahead of me, so I can’t wait to see more. This website has been great, as there aren’t so many mammal enthusiasts here in the UK. Birds are great, but they’re not everything.

Please ask any questions you may have, and enjoy my terrible photos!



  • mikehoit

    Nothing wrong with phonescoped pictures, especially with such great species in a location like that! Sounds absolutely thrilling.

  • tomeslice

    Great report, and welcome to the MW blog!

    What frequency did you see lynxes? And snow leopards? 🙂

    • brennig

      I only saw the lynx once, but had a great sighting. Saw plenty of tracks and signs about though, they’re just very elusive. I saw snow leopards six times. Once for 10 hours, and even watched them hunt marmots, some folks at the Snow Leopard Foundation said I’m the first to have seen this, but I’m not sure. Saw them a few times at night, and at close quarters, at one point I had one within 10 metres of me, very special!

      • Mattia from Italy

        Great observation, Brenning! I think that there are many very good places for watching Snow Leopards in -stan countries, even at less grueling conditions than the usual Ladakh places. But Ladakh has a lot of local people involved as trackers and observers, and this actually makes the difference.

        Kyrgyzistan, and I think even Tadjikistan, should really be marevellous countries! If only locals had the ecobusiness-oriented mentality of Ladakhi…


    Wow incredible! We also just returned from Kyrgyzstan. I’ve also tried hard to find mammals, but I didn’t come any further than 2 species of marmot, 1 Eurasion red squirrel and 1 red fox. In my opinion the enourmous herds of grazing cattle pushed out the wildlife to the most remote places (where were not able to come).
    where exactly did you have these sightings?
    Looking forward to read your full trip report!

  • Jon Hall

    This is very tantalizing to read… I was there in 2009 or so and it was a real adventure, though didn’t see Lynxes or Snow Leopards. Looking forward to the full report!

  • Lars Michael Nielsen

    Great observations. I’ve got an old mate from when i studied biology in Copenhagen living in Bishkek. He’s wildlife tours in Kyrgizstan and started up in the other “stan” countries as well using local people as guides. He’s name is Michael Westerbjerg Andersen and has been working for several larger travel agencies but has now “gone solo” in his own company Miksture. He knows quite a lot about where to see what so feel free to contact him.

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