Dukha Tribe Winter Camp

Dukha tribe winter camps are set deep in the forest at 1600-1800m above sea level. This way the tribes can take shelter from the frigid winds and heavy snowing of the northern region of Mongolia.

In this extreme weather, Reindeer can easily find and eat moss in the snow by digging it with their foot. Carpets of moss cover the ground of the Taiga, and it makes the primary source of nutrition for reindeer during winter. Therefore it is not difficult for them to survive during winters. However, when tribes stay in one area for too long, there is a bigger risk from predators such as wolves. This is why Dukha tribe herders move on to more than one winter camp during the colder months. How long is too long? The timing can range from a month to several months as nature is unique.

Walk with reindeer across heavy snow - Dukha tribe winter scenery
Walk with reindeer across heavy snow – Dukha tribe winter Otor

Reindeer tribes usually band together to feed their reindeer, and set out for “Otor”. Otor is the act of herding the reindeer by young men capable of herding in distant areas. During such Otor, the reindeer are free to move about a large area. This way it is easy for them to find and feed on moss and grass easily.

While most of the tribe people during winter continue their nomadic migration, most children and elders settle in the nearest towns. For example, towns of the Northern region include Ulaan Uul, Tsagaan Nuur, Renchinllhumbe for many reasons. Most common reasons such schooling, medical issues, or simply because they couldn’t keep up with the others.

reindeer herder woman with her daughter
Pose with Mom – Tsaatan mother and child at Dukha tribe winter camp
Want to see what its like at the Winter camp of the Dukha? See this close up video below!

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