Rising majestically above low-lying steppe and river valleys of the enclosed Great Lakes Basin, the snow-capped mountains of the Mongolian Altai stretch down the western border of Mongolia in a giant arc north of the Gobi Desert to link with the lesser, more scattered peaks of the Gobi Altai. Snow Leopards hunt Siberian Ibex and Argali sheep in these steep sided ravines, Musk Deer and Wolverine inhabit its highland forests. Marmots, Pikas and a host of small rodent species live on the alpine meadows of this central Asian landscape watchful of falcons, buzzards and golden eagles overhead and foxes, Pallas cats and other predators on the ground. Sparsely populated by people, the Altai Mountains have an air of permanence and impregnability that masks the ecological fragility that they share with all high mountain ranges of the world. This fragility has already been demonstrated through over-exploitation of land and wild species of animals and plants, leading to degraded grasslands, damaged forests, depleted wildlife populations and polluted and diminished flows of water to downstream ecosystems. However, humans have trodden lightly on this land, in comparison with impacts elsewhere, and there is an opportunity here for people to conserve the natural world around them.