A Changing Way of Life for Mongolia’s Dukha Reindeer Herders

In north central Mongolia, in the taiga along the border with Russia, the Dukha people have lived a nomadic life for generations, roaming with their reindeer herds and hunting to fill in a diet based largely on reindeer milk. Reuters photographer Thomas Peter traveled to Mongolia’s Khovsgol Aimag, near the village of Tsagaannuur, to spend time with several Dukha families, as their traditional culture is facing serious challenges. Peter says: “The Dukha fear they are losing their identity in the face of a conservation order by the government that bans unlicensed hunting on most of their traditional land.” Six years ago, the Mongolian government added most of the Dukha's herding grounds to a national park, aiming to stop unregulated hunting that had caused serious damage over previous decades. A stipend is being paid to families affected, and some have used that money to leave the nomadic life and move to villages where the next generation spends their day with peers in houses and classrooms, instead of with reindeer in tents and forests.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Metal Bull, First Snow, Raging Wildfires

    A fireworks festival in Burma, political turmoil in Sri Lanka, starlings over Rome, an Allosaurus in Paris, wintry scenes in northern China, and much more

  • - / AFP / Getty

    Dizzying Heights: Vertical Tourism in China

    Chinese developers have opened a series of new tourist attractions in some very lofty places. Glass-bottomed bridges, cliffside walkways, observation decks, and more

  • Charles Platiau / Reuters

    The Ubiquity of Smartphones, as Captured by Photographers

    The total number of smartphone users worldwide will reach an estimated 3 billion this year—here’s a look at the visual landscape.

  • Todd Kennedy

    The 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest

    A selection of entries from this year’s competition, which is open for submissions until November 15