Animal Law in Mongolia

September 29, 2020Zihao Yu

“Virtually everyone was looking for a way out of this sudden poverty and, for many, wildlife, now unprotected, provided the answer.”

The Silent Steppe: The Illegal Wildlife Trade Crisis in Mongolia


Mongolia is the 18th largest country in the world and the world's second-largest landlocked country. This large country has a population of 3.3 million people, which makes Mongolia have the lowest population density in the world at 2 per km2. In contrast to the low human population density, Mongolia has a wide variety of wildlife. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Mongolia has 139 species of mammals; 450 species of birds (331 migratory and 119 residents within Mongolia year-round); 22 species of reptiles; 6 species of amphibians; and 76 fish species.

Animals Used in Agriculture

Mongolia has a long history of pastoral tradition. For animals used in agriculture, the amount of the “five animals,” i.e., sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and camels, which are referred to as “five animals” (tavan khoshuu mal) in Mongolia, consists around 80% the value of agricultural production.

In order to protect public health as well as to keep up with the international standards of the exports, the new revised Animal Health Law was adopted in 2017, aiming at providing safe animal products, which assists the animal health with veterinary services and clarifies the responsibilities of the stakeholders of animals. This law improves the enforcement of animal identification and traceability.

In 2020, in order to stop the increasing trend of the theft of livestock animals in recent years, a new Amendment of the Criminal Code of Mongolia was published, which includes the punishment for livestock animal theft-related offenses.

Poaching and Hunting

Mongolia has the diverse habits with lack of humans—including deserts, steppes, mountains, and taiga forests for a wide variety of animals, including endangered Mongolian argali sheep, ibex, snow leopards, wild ass, the Gobi bear, the Pallas cat, wolves, and herds of gazelles.

Poaching and hunting of endangered species is a problem in Mongolia. The Mongolian Constitution states that wildlife is a common resource of all the people, and Mongolians enjoy a long history of hunting including wild antelope, rabbits, peasants, ducks, foxes, wolves, and marmots. In the mountain areas bears, manul (Asiatic red deer), sable, ermine, and wolves. Due to the high demand and the impact of international trade, poaching and hunting of endangered species is a big issue. Although there are laws and provisions that regulate and control hunting and the trade of wild animal furs, hides, and body parts, it is difficult to police the entire country in reality. The poaching problem is blamed on ineffective laws, poor enforcement, and corruption “at all management levels.”

The legal framework for illegal hunting and trade is divided into 3 parts - Environmental Protection Law (otherwise known as “Take Law”), Trade Law, and the Enforcement, under the Constitution. In the Environmental Protection Law, Law on Forest, Law on Special Protected Areas, and Law on Fauna regulate the action of “take.” In Foreign Trade in Endangered Species Law, Tax Law, Customs Tariffs and Tax Law, Medical and Medicine Devices Law, Advertisement Law, and Foreign Trade in Endangered Species Law together with CITES regulate the action of “trade.” In the Criminal Code, smuggling and illegal hunting are prohibited.

The relevant legislation is the Constitution of Mongolia (1992), Mongolian Law on Environmental Protection (1995), Mongolian Law on Hunting (2000), Mongolian Law on Fauna (2000), Criminal Code of Mongolia.

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