I marvel at the links in the chain of events that enabled me to visit the four enclaves in the Gobi in China and Mongolia where the wild camel still survives.
The story begins in Russia, where, in 1992, I had arrived to stage an exhibition of winning environmental photographs in the Polytechnic Museum, Moscow.
In 1992, Communism was crumbling, and its currency had collapsed; at night the city was a dangerous place.
I took a deep breath and turned to look round at the impassive faces of the Chinese delegation. What were they thinking? Had they understood the paper? Were they asleep?
'As you will have gathered,' I began lamely, 'the wild camel situation in Mongolia is extremely serious and a cause for great concern. Unfortunately, we have no knowledge of the current status of wild camels across the border in China.'