The conservancies provide excellent opportunities for wildlife photography. Because poaching is brought under control and hunting is very limited wildlife is much less wary of people than in other areas. Still do not expect the animals being as habituated to people as in North American or African National Parks. The protection is still rather new, violations happen and there are just not as many tourists that the wild animals would get used to them!
For taking good pictures you will need patience, experienced guides and powerful lenses. Mountain ungulates often use spots, which are difficult to approach. Carnivores are very elusive and may more often see you than you actually detect them!
Species which you would have good chances to see and to photograph include:
– Long-tailed marmot, Marco Polo sheep, Asiatic ibex, Tajik markhor, Bukhara urial and brown bear;
– Golden eagle, bearded vulture, Himalayan vulture, Egyptian vulture;
– Chukar partridge, ruddy shelduck, redshank, Mongolian plover and other water and shore birds;
– Various song-birds including blue whistling thrush, Paradise flycatcher, dippers, different redstarts, wagtails, horned lark and bullfinches
With some luck, patience and effort you might see and even photograph wolf and snow leopard!
Guiding of wildlife photography requires a lot of effort for the rangers of the conservancy. Animals need to be spotted; the photographer needs to be shown how to approach the animals without disturbing them; close distance and suitable light are needed. You also need to consider that there is all the conservation effort, anti-poaching work and refraining from harmful nature use by the local people, which altogether is allowing for the existence of the wildlife a photographer wants to experience and get onto his images. Both – the immediate preparation and guiding services and the conservation work – need to be honored and paid for adequately! If this is the case, then wildlife photography also contributes to the conservation of the beautiful and endangered wildlife of Tajikistan’s community-based conservancies and motivates local traditional hunters to protect wildlife and the local people to support their efforts!
For information about specific opportunities in the conservancy areas, please write to [email protected]!