I know, there are thousands of good charities and worthy organizations out there doing amazing work, and all vying for our donations. We are not asking you to donate, but just want to share a story with you about the Taimen Fund (although we will include a link to donate, should you be so moved). It's an interesting story from Sweetwater Travel, with whom Frontiers works with to arrange Mongolia fishing departures.
At one time, Taimen had the largest range of any salmonid in the world - they swam from the Danube in central Europe all the way to Russian Far East. Today, after years of abuse, the Taimen can be found in a few small remnants of its original range. Mongolia, and specifically the Eg-Uur watershed, has one of the healthiest populations of Taimen left on earth. There has been fishing for Taimen in Mongolia since 1995. In 2004, with the help of the World Bank, Sweetwater helped form a 501(c)(3) called The Tributary Fund. Now transitioned to The Taimen Fund, this fund under the leadership of long-time Mongolia guide, Charlie Conn, has raised money to help insure that the world's largest trout can always call Mongolia home.
Through conservation efforts, a monastery has been rebuilt on the upper Eg-Uur, and have employed River Keepers to patrol the river to insure the fish are protected from illegal fishing and netting. These efforts are succeeding and the Taimen population is still super strong. Barry and I have hosted two trips to Mongolia's Eg-Uur Camp for Taimen and we and our guests will vouch that it is an amazing experience. We've visited the Monastery and met the monks who will keep their hand on the pulse of this wonderful fishery. The Mongolian people are warm, friendly, and display a unique sense of humor; and they love having us visit their river. In the 1930's, Russia destroyed many of the monasteries and either killed or drove off the monks, but today the monasteries are being rebuilt and the monks, at least here, are taking an active interest in the health and welfare of the river, their lifeblood.
Through association with many Mongolian conservation agencies and organizations, the groundwork has been laid for the future of taimen protection in Mongolia. The Taimen Fund hopes to continue their flagship River Keeper program in the Eg-Uur watershed and will work closely with Taimen Conservation Alliance to forge community partnerships.
We will return to Mongolia, maybe in 2016, and will look forward to another very special week in Taimen camp and among these beautiful, kind, people and those big gorgeous fish!