It seems hampsters–yes, those cute little critters you find in pet stores–are native to Mongolia and they are invading the yurts at our base camp.
Another problem, this one not quite so cute: gas prices have gone up by 30% and are now equivalent to around $5 (US) /gallon.
This is a real challenge considering snow leopards don’t live near cities, they live far out in the field. Our base camp is in prime snow leopard habitat, but it’s a 10 hour drive from the provincial capital of Dalanzadgad (the nearest public airport), and 22 hours from the national capital of Ulaanbaatar. Locally, the team has to drive just to get water, or food. And the drive is over some of the rockiest terrain you can imagine–think cobblestone with extra cobbles and stones.