Group 2 is going well. Covid has not reared its ugly head again, so after getting to base and two days of training, several more valleys have now been surveyed.
We put new camera traps on a high ridge by an ibex superhighway. Whilst doing this, we saw a group of ibex further up the same ridge. We also spotted marmots, stoats, badgers, many many eagles, vultures, buzzards, and many other birds.
We also started doing interviews with people in the main valley to find out about their attitudes towards low-scale / low-impact ecotourism based on intact nature as a means of generating income for them. Our first interviewees were five herder’s wives. We found varying attitudes towards tourism, including some very open to the idea of hosting tourists and providing horses. We have more interviews planned, including with the herders themselves. We are also starting conversations about how livestock numbers are restricted (not very effectively) in the valley and the possibility of creating buffer valleys for wildlife without livestock.
Yesterday, Sunday, we came over the pass and into a local village with a phone signal, which is why I can send this diary update. A fuller account next weekend when we change over to group 3.