More than just Santa's helpers: Meet the nomadic Mongolian mountain tribe who have depended on REINDEER for thousands of years for food, clothes and transport


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Categories: Life Stories
  • The Tsaatan occupy the subarctic areas in northern Khövsgöl Aimag of Mongolia moving around with the seasons
  • They rely heavily on the reindeer using their hair for sewing clothes and their dung for fuelling cooking stoves
  • Belgian photographer Pascal Mannaerts spent days horse-riding across the Ulaan taïga to spend ten days with them

It is not only in Lapland that reindeer are treasured as a vital part of life. 

In the heart of the Mongolian mountains there is a nomadic tribe of herders who have depended on them for thousands of years.

Belgian photographer Pascal Mannaerts spent days horse-riding across the Ulaan taïga to meet with Tsaatan people and document their unique lifestyle. 

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Unique way of life: Belgian photographer Pascal Mannaerts spent days horse-riding across the Ulaan taïga to meet with Tsaatan people and document their unique lifestyle

At one with nature: There are 40 families who make up the Tsaatan tribe in Mongolia, although dwindling numbers of domesticated reindeer could threaten this community 

 

The tribe live in basic conditions but the 36-year-old photographer was amazed at their hospitality and warm welcome

The tribe occupy remote subarctic areas in northern Khövsgöl Aimag of Mongolia, moving during the year with the seasons.

Their very existence is entwined with the reindeer, relying on them for milk, cheese and predominantly transportation. 

Not only this, but the Tsaatan use the animal's hair for sewing clothes, fashion their antlers into tools and use their dung as fuel for cooking food on stoves.

'The tribe live in very simple tents, which are not large with the whole family residing in each,' Mannaerts told MailOnline Travel. 

'The furniture is very basic. There were only two beds for the whole family, a tiny kind of wardrobe, a stove, and that's it.'

Despite their simple existence, the 36-year-old photographer was amazed at their hospitality and the amount of resources they shared with him. 

The Tsaatan occupy remote subarctic areas in northern Khövsgöl Aimag of Mongolia, moving during the year with the seasons

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