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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Colebatch, Oct 18, 2012.
Great action pc.
Love this pic'. Substitute horses for bikes and it's the 1850s.
It wasnt warm when the wind picked up.
Zhan ordered his staff into action, rustling up much more than tea for us. We were also fed a lamb stew and spoke with his two young nephews, who spoke some English.
Over breakfast he told us that the area is plagued with packs of wolves. I asked do they take people? Knowing we had just spent the night in a wolf plagued area. Zhan replied, if you are alone, the pack will probably attack you. A local woman was attacked and killed recently walking the steppe alone at night. He added that in a group of 5 it was unlikely they would attack our camp.
Then he said they take his livestock. He hunted a pack not long ago and captured one. To be collected and relocated by a wildlife service in the coming weeks. He had it in a cage. And took us to see it.
As we walked back to the main building, we heard a vehicle sound approaching inthe distance.
A guy got out and Zhan told me he was from Kurchatov City ... a nuclear scientist who drops by from time to time monitoring radiation levels.
I spent a bit of time chatting to the guy, firstly about radiation and if there was any advice he could offer us on our route. He checked out the planned route on my Garmin and said that there should be no problem.
All of us had been carrying a bottle of vodka each since we left Astana. It had been a present fro the hotel we stayed at. After the last few days we had drunk a couple, and used a couple as gifts. Terry and I had out tyres changed in Astana for a bottle each. But we had one bottle left now. We decided it would be a nice present for Zhan, who had been a very friendly host once he realised we were harmless. (he said he rarely drinks but I hope he will get some use out of it and remember us when he does)
I promised him to save the location so other motorcyclists following the Sibirsky Extreme Trail in years to come would stop by for a tea and perhaps stay the night. He doesnt get a lot of new faces around here:
We left Zhan's feeling all was well with the world. Good friendly people who fed us and wished us well. We headed SSE along more double track:
About 30 km away (20 miles) I was leading the group and saw some strange lumps bulging up above a dried up lake bed. I rode over to investigate.
The lumps were dead cattle, bloating up in the morning sun:
The others arrived right behind me and we tried to take in this macabre scene:
Most of the cattle were just dead. No marks on them. Only a calf had been hollowed out and one other cow had flesh wounds. Three of them were untouched. They must have been killed / died overnight as the blood had not even dried out, and the bloating gas was coming out of the nostrils at a rapid rate that made it seem the dead cows were blowing their noses.
The culprits were clear to us ... wolves. Tracks were all around the opened up big cow:
After we had been there 10 minutes, a guy we assumed to be the cowboy responsible for them came over the hill on horseback. I guess he had heard our engines. Initially he was suspicious. Asking us if we did it. I assured him it wasnt us and showed him the wolf prints. I added that we had just been having breakfast with Zhan. (I assumed the cowboy worked for Zhan). He was horror struck. He just stared at the cattle open mouthed. I guess he imagined he was going to be in a whole heap of trouble when he reported this to the boss.
There was nothing we could do but leave him with his mess. We had to ride on...
It occurred to me while riding away that this hungry, very active pack of wolves had just killed 5 cattle in the same night we were camped out on the steppe, just down the track.
That's brilliant! I sometimes do that when I'm out on the mountain bike but I've never thought about that for the motorbike
Looks to like they died from dehydration and the scavengers are just doing their job.
My main concern,is that i hope Zhan isn,t superstitious,seeing a group of foreign bikers and then loosing 5 cattle wouldn,t bode well for other bikers following us.....:eek1
Great technique! Are you able to check inside the tyre for sharp objects poking through the tyre ? (thorns, nails, staples) If you did not have a compressor would you then suggest removing wheel?
Lastly, love to hear what sort of patch kits you are using and what brand tubes. I've had trouble with patches not sticking or leaking ... and some Butyl type tubes are not so good for patching. What is your technique?
That is an elegant solution! I just hope I could break the bead by hand with a road oriented tubeless type tire (with a tube inside). Some tyre beads are stubborn.
The pictures show no damage to the cattle that have not been eaten on. Were there any bullet wounds or other physical marks that don't show up in the pictures? It appears the wolves arrived after the death. Five head of cattle falling dead on the same spot seems very unusual.
I would have wondered what might have been in the lamb stew. Not superstitious, or fearful of my host, just the area you were in and free ranging livestock, maybe they are grazing in contaminated or poisoned area. That particular area shows no uneaten growth of grass and no fence to keep them there, it must have contained something they liked.
The Wolves could have easily ran the cattle until they were dead.
Interestingly I have a trend who works in Ag all over the world including Kaz. He tells that an American company flys cattle to Kaz to feed and fatten and the back to the US for slaughter.
If those cattle had been attacked and killed by wolves they would have wounds on their backs, legs and throats. I can't see anything like that here - weird . They also obviously died together, and that means quickly, I'm guessing some sort of poisoning.
The wolves that scavenged may also now be poisoned.
Hey Walter, are you able to speak with these gentlemen with your Russian? I'm vaguely familiar with Kaz's Soviet history, but I also assume they have their own language. Is Russian very similar like different dialects of Spanish or were these guys educated in soviet times and thus learned Russian? Or am I over-thinking it and you just manage?
When the "cowboy" came, one of the first things he did was check the cows for bite marks. I was standing next to him while he checked the calf. He was pointing to some marks on the throat..... So poisoning....unlikely.
For us this find was proof of what Zhan (the farmer) told us. A lot of his livestock was killed by wolves.
They even take down some of his horses from time to time.
Dehydration would be unlikely too, because his staff keeps an eye out for them during the day. With the people living and herding livestock on the steppes for generations and the animals being of great value to them, they will make sure they have something to drink in times of drought.
Zhan also told us that most wolf packs out there consist of 3 wolfs. They could have chased the cattle until they were exhausted and died of stress and exhaustion.
Just like what I've seen on discovery channel
Ah finally caught up
Quick question about the montana GPS.
I use a satmap for trail riding here in the UK which is like a digital ordnance survey map you save routes into and can record routes into it while out riding to follow.
Is the montana the same thing? can be used as a gps too but doesn't tell you proper directions just shows a direct line to the destination you put in?
Walter, in this photo you look like you could be long lost brothers.
Great report mate.
Seems unlikely to me that wolves were responsible for the deaths, with them all so close together, I'd be much more inclined to think some type of poisoning or even a lightning strike. Some plants can induce a form of bloat that kills pretty fast.
Just wondering why no center stand on the XChallenge? Mine works great and not having any friends to help lift the bike its a must have for me.
Don't worry Pruster, its an ongoing debate here in the US. Lots of people like to think of Wolves as harmless puppy dogs. If the chatter gets too obnoxious ask the Moderators to trim the thread. -David
Time to 'fess up Walter, are you these peoples long lost relation from the Antipodes?
I'm not worried MT.For us it was another thing to talk about. How the cows where killed wil always be a gues.
( it sounds exiting to say that wolfs killed them to the folks at home )
But later this trip we were told again they are not the harmless puppy dogs.......! And there are plenty of them out there.
Walter has told me about the wolves up north. Things locals told him
Mods please no trimming the thread.
Now lets ride on