UMSL GRADUATE PURSUING AMBITIOUS STUDY IN MONGOLIA

The Onon Balj National Park administration in partnership with WWF Mongolia is pleased to announce the appointment of recent UMSL graduate Matthew Fox as lead biologist at Onon Balj National Park, Dadal soum, Mongolia.

Matthew will graduate in May with a BIS degree in Wildlife Conservation, and will begin his position at Onon Balj on the first of July.  His duties will include the training of local students and Onon Balj rangers in the use of radio telemetry equipment, mist nets, Sherman traps and bal-chatri traps. He will assist in the development of a master plan for the park, help translate documents from Mongolian to English and begin a series of studies of his own design on the small mammals of the Dadal soum region.

Matthew has been a field biologist since 2006, and has worked at study sites throughout Asia, Africa, South America and Central America. In previous positions he has tracked the Andean spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) in the cloud forests of Ecuador, anesthetized and studied wild argali sheep (Ovis ammon) in the Gobi desert and has served as a safari guide in the Kruger National Park of South Africa.

The small mammals of Onon Balj National Park have never been surveyed before, but it is expected that Matthew's studies will reveal new populations of Mongolian hamster (Allocricetulus curtatus), Djungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus), Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) and the illusive four-toed jerboa (Allactaga tetradactyla).

To perform his study, Matthew will requires 50x Sherman traps, 200x 3/32" I.D tags, at least two additional GPS devices, various tools including multiple sets of forceps and pliers, bite resistant gloves for the students and bait for all 50 traps over the course of the study.

The Onon Balj National Park is a critical habitat site for wolverine, red deer, demoiselle crane and taimen.  With the conclusion of Matthew's study, Matthew and the Onon Balj National Park administration can begin augmenting the park's master plan to include conservation strategies for Onon Balj's smallest residents.

The GoFundMe page is now live, with a goal of $3000, and can be reached at this location: gofundme.com/u4mtc95d
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