Testimony of Anna, 18 years old. PANTHERA 2009 expedition with Objectif Sciences International.
"Where do you start when you want to write about an experience like thePanthera expedition? This adventure, full of surprises and twists and turns, has to be lived to be truly appreciated! So I'll stick to what the trip brought me. First of all, I really enjoyed the"adventure" aspect of the expedition, as you learn to deal with all kinds of situations: for example, how to prepare a picnic for 14 people in less than a quarter of an hour, how to patch up a rubber stirrup in the middle of the steppes without any equipment, or how to make a "toilet" out of rocks of varying sizes.
What's more, we got to meet a people I'd never even heard of a few months earlier. Whether it was with the reserve's gamekeepers or in villages such as Barskoon, our small numbers enabled us to better appreciate this incredible encounter with a culture radically different from our own.
This expedition is also an excellent way of raising awareness of environmental protection! Indeed, when you're in the reserve in the company of discreet but magnificent wildlife (vultures, eagles, foxes, etc., and the panther of course!) and when you contemplate the imposing Tian-Shan range from the top of one of its peaks, you can't help but be touched by these natural wonders.
As far as I'm concerned, our stay in the reserve has also helped me improve my horse-riding skills.
I started out with no riding skills whatsoever, but ended up riding down some very steep slopes, crossing rivers with strong currents, and my first gallop across the immense steppes remains an unforgettable memory.
Finally, one of the great assets of the Panthera expedition is its "human adventure" aspect. Indeed, it seems to me that life on the reserve has forged bonds between the members of our team that no other trip could have created, and I hope that time and distance will never manage to eat them away completely.
Not a day has gone by since our return that I haven't thought about this adventure. Sometimes, sitting at my desk, I suddenly see myself galloping across the steppes on Tchabdal's back; or in one of the camps on a starry night, enjoying a hearty meal with the whole team.
I think I can safely say that the Panthera expedition was the most wonderful and rewarding experience of my life. So thank you Objectif Sciences International for offering this exceptional trip! "