Curly-horned Marco Polo sheep on a mountain side, spotted during the Borderski expedition in 2015. Photo credit: Kate Harris.

Curly-horned Marco Polo sheep on a mountain side, spotted during the Borderski expedition in 2015. Photo credit: Kate Harris.

Borderwhat?

Borderski was a six-week, all-woman ski traverse of the eastern Pamir mountains in February/March 2015. Our goal was to document the impact of border fences on migratory wildlife, especially Marco Polo sheep—and have a grand adventure in the process. Now we hope to inspire others to think beyond borders by producing a documentary film about the expedition.

Where?

Central Asia's Pamir mountains. Also known as Bam-i-Dunya, Persian for “the Roof of the World,” this range lies at the nexus of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and Kyrgyzstan. 

Barbed-wire fence snaking along the border between Tajikistan and China. Makes it tough for Marco Polo sheep to migrate. Photo credit: Kate Harris.

Barbed-wire fence snaking along the border between Tajikistan and China. Makes it tough for Marco Polo sheep to migrate. Photo credit: Kate Harris.

Why?

Marco Polo sheep call the Pamir mountains home. Until relatively recently, herds could wander freely across this borderland, their migrations mostly unimpeded by fences. But border security has tightened in the Pamir and beyond, with harsh consequences for migratory wildlife. 

Marco Polo sheep skull on the Pamir Plateau. Photo credit: Kate Harris.

Marco Polo sheep skull on the Pamir Plateau. Photo credit: Kate Harris.

Through Borderski, we hope to build a robust case for keeping the Pamir––and the world generally––as fenceless as possible.

How?

We spent more than a month skiing through the wintering grounds of Marco Polo sheep along Tajikistan’s frontiers with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China. Along the way, we documented our journey and searched for evidence of Marco Polo sheep being impacted by border fences.

By sharing the Borderski journey with others through a documentary film, we hope to bring a little-known wilderness, a threatened species of wild sheep, and the need for conservation that transcends borders that much closer to home.