OS-Tienshanica expedition: Discovering the Thien Shan mountains and their biodiversity

05 September 2018

OS-Tienshanica: a new expedition on the Thien Shan mountains to rediscover the wild nature and the biodiversity of this amzing place

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In the late 19th century Baron Osten-Sacken, naturalist, geographer and explorer made an epic quest crossing the Tien Shan, the Celestial Mountains, in a lost country today known as Kyrgyzstan. He explored and observed unknown landscapes, collectied scientific samples and geomorfological measures to describe and paint a hidden and mysterious world. 150 years after that exploration, two WBA members retraced parts of that journey, in order to re-describe, map and report in a modern perspective and with new technologies, the celestial Tien Shan.

Collecting botanical samples on the shores of the Song Kul lake

Osten Sacken wrote Expedition to the Trans-Naryn Country in 1867, reporting his considerations in the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London. Thanks to his great knowledge of botany and the wide background in natural sciences he was also able to collected hundreds of specimens and to described several new species. All his notes are contained in the Sertum Tienshanicum, still a one of the most important references for the natural sciences of Central Asia.

Horse riding to the Kol-u-kok lake Horse riding to the Kol-u-kok lake Horse riding to the Kol-u-kok lake Horse riding to the Kol-u-kok lake Horse riding to the Kol-u-kok lake Horse riding to the Kol-u-kok lake Horse riding to the Kol-u-kok lake

On horseback Rachele Amerini (cartographer), Roberto Battiston (naturalist) and Tilek Zhetigenov (local guide) collected new botanical and zoological specimens and updated information on the landscape changes and the natural ecosystems of the Naryn region. In plain cooperation  with the local communities  were mapped and studied new remote areas, with the specific purpose of promote the conservation and knowledge of these mostly unexplred landscapes.

New interesting specimens are now under study, with the purpose to complete Osten Sacken’s great work.

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