Naranbek Ristan slings his binoculars and notebook around his neck and mounts his horse with graceful ease. He is setting off on a monthly patrol of 6,000 hectares of community land to check on wildlife. The country he will cover is harsh, magnificent and daunting. But for Ristan, most importantly, it is home. Ristan comes from the Kazakh ethnic group and lives in the community of Akhbastau (literally “White Springs”) in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia’s extreme west. People here are herders and horsemen living in gers (yurts) decorated with colourful floor and wall carpets.