Symbiotic Relationship Between Mongolian Mountain Tribe and Reindeer

Reindeer are considered as a significant part of life all around the world, not just in Lapland. A nomadic tribe of herders lives in the Mongolian mountains, and they have depended on them for thousands of years.



Pascal Mannaerts, a Belgian photographer, spent days horse riding over the Ulaan taga to meet and shoot the Tsaatan people.

The tribe lives in distant subarctic locations of Mongolia’s northern Khövsgöl Aimag, shifting with the seasons throughout the year.

They are inextricably linked to reindeer, dependent on them for milk, cheese, and, most importantly, transportation.

‘The tribe lives in very simple tents that are not large enough to house the entire family,’ Mannaerts explained.


‘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 blown away by their warmth and generosity in sharing their resources with him.

‘I was surprised to see how sincerely pleased they were.’ We asked Bolorma, the mother, what makes her the happiest person on the planet one night. She responded without doubt that this was her herd and her children.’


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Symbiotic Relationship Between Mongolian Mountain Tribe and Reindeer
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