New Zealand has a unique ecosystem quite separate to the rest of the world. This means during our cycling trip through the asian continent, there were many animals we’ve never seen before. The animals listed here during our 9 months are a mixed bag of natural encounters, a first timer, or one we found to be absolutely fascinating.
Snake | Shaanxi, China
We were both excited and scared after our host asked us “Are you okay with snakes?”. The point of this trip was to open our mind to the world, so we politely said “yes, no problems”. On the second day our host took the snake outside of its box for a health check-up. We watched it intensely as it moved across our bed and not a sound was made. Thankfully it was well fed beforehand so it wasn’t interested in to skinny cyclists.
Fox | Qinghai, China
With our GoPro on were recording the ride going down. Matt was ahead and saw a fox crossing the road up close. Pheng with the camera saw something up ahead so tried to video record what it was. The photo quality isn’t that great but you can see in the distance a small fox. It had an orange coat. It stopped for a moment staring back at us from a safe distance, and carried on into the desert.
Camel | Qinghai, China
Cycling the Silk Road should definitely include a camel sighting right? It didn’t take too long for us to see our first camels. They weren’t likely to be wild camels but it was still cool to see some from the road. They seem like gentle animals — quiet, shy and calm. We tried to get closer shots but they walked away as we moved. We also saw them many times in Central Asia and the Middle East.
在丝绸之路骑自行车应该看见骆驼吧？在青海我们看到第一个骆驼。他们不太可能是野生骆驼，但从道路上看到一些仍然很酷。他们似乎喜欢轻柔的动物 – 安静，害羞和平静。我们试图越来越近，但是他们离开。我们也看到了多次在中亚和中东。
Goat | Xinjiang, China
We saw these very fluffy looking goats being herded during our crossing over the Tianshan mountain route. They’re really good climbers, walking comfortably over the steep hillsides by the road. It’s really impressive as we cycled along the pass, you can see tracks they have left on the hills which are almost 80% gradient uphill!
Yak | Son-kul, Kyrgyzstan
While cycling up a pass towards Son-kul we saw our first yaks up above 3000 metres. They’re big creatures. The thick coat they have suits them well up in the mountains. These weren’t wild ones as the Kyrgyz farmers bring their herd up the mountains in summer and back down in winter.
Bull | Oykamar, Tajikistan
During our stay in Dushanbe waiting for new visas, our host invited us to visit the diary farm their father worked in. He introduced us to this giant bull which was delivered from Germany. We couldn’t believe the size of it! Part of us thought about how well strong the barriers were in case the bull wanted to charge. 我们在杜尚别等待新的签证的情况下，我们的主持人邀请我们参观父亲工作的农场。他向我们介绍了这个从德国交付的公牛。我们不敢相信它的大小！如果牛生气，我们希望围栏强烈地保护我们
Boar | Golestan, Iran
Right by the highway in the Golestan Forest, we jumped to our cameras to snap these wild boars living in the forest. They were probably used to cars zooming by and the sound didn’t bother them much. As we were on a bridge, we could get a good view of them. In a car you probably won’t see any as you pass so quickly it’ll be hard to spot, whereas on a bicycle, we were on the edge of the road and could easily spot them digging out the soil and hear them grunting.
Beluga | Ramsar, Iran
The sign reads:
The beluga of European sturgeon is the largest fish in the Caspian Sea. It dates back millions of years and is listed as a highly endangered species. The caviar is the most expensive type of caviar. Also this type of fish is known as “living fossil”.
We saw the belugas in the palace of the last king in Ramsar. They were also seen in the fish market too unfortunately.
Flamingo | Bandar Abbas, Iran
A short walk to the beach from our accommodation, the Persian Gulf was something we’ve been hoping to see for 9 months. The flamingos were busy looking for food when we spotted them. On the mud they did some rapid stomping to get food that was hiding from under. It was like stomping on grapes to make wine in Europe. We weren’t pink as we had hoped for but it was still cool to see some naturally.