Orchestrating our efforts in Mongolia is the wonderful Mari Vittoria Mazzamuto. She acts as a conduit between University of Wyoming and Mongolian Academy of Sciences (MAS), working with MAS researchers to develop projects needed to conserve Mongolian wildlife. At the same time, MAS researchers train UW biologists on Mongolian ecology, teaching us about their land and the local species.
In the field, every day is different. Sometimes the tasks are the same each day, and each day is just as busy as the last. But the clouds fall differently each day, casting shadows or highlighting features that you didn’t notice the previous day, illuminating the landscape “just so,” or concealing it in a heavy fog of clouds and rain, but always providing a new and different scene. Many days you may work with the same species and even the same individuals, but the way they look and act varies from animal to animal, day to day, and season to season as they shift through their life cycle. Other days you may trap and release a species you’ve never handled before, or gaze upon a wildflower you’ve never seen or smelled before. Each day offers an opportunity to learn and experience something new, possibly something never before recorded.
Originally from Italy, Mazzamuto now calls Wyoming home. When she’s not out in the field, she transforms the data collected into information that can be shared with the scientific community and the public to raise conservation awareness and improve species management. Her passion is fueled by a desire to learn more about our planet and contribute back to the Earth. Humans are just one of millions of species, each one with a unique perspective on what “food,” “threat,” and “home” entails. With each new project, Mazzamuto gets to discover the world through the eyes of a new species and work toward conserving their place on this planet.