The modern relationship between humans and animals in Central Asia is to be captured on film by two veterinary epidemiologists.
Claire Guinat and Timothée Vergne, who focus on transmission and control of major infectious diseases in animals as epidemiologists at the RVC, will embark on the challenge in 2016.
Their self-titled “Cycling the Silk Road Exhibition” will see them complete a 4,000km cycle in four months and take around 3,000 photographs.
From July to October 2016, the pair will travel from Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek to Iran’s capital Tehran, crossing Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
To ensure the necessary distances are covered, they will have to cycle between 60km and 100km per day.
Dr Vergne explained: “Building on our professional knowledge and experience, we will couple this physical challenge with a photographic project far from the clichés of animal documentary.
“All along the expedition, we will study how humans in the 21st century interact with domestic and wild animals on the Silk Road.”
Several themes have already been identified for their importance in Central Asia tradition, including:
- the sport of buzkashi in Kyrgyzstan
- hunting with eagles in Tajikistan
- breeding the Akhal-Teke, one of the oldest existing horse breeds, in Turkmenistan
Dr Vergne said: “Developing such an ambitious photographic project requires building trust with the local people, which means we will need to spend several days with them.”
In early 2017, the pair plan to visit veterinary schools in France and the UK to give a series of talks about their adventures, where they will share the most inspiring images.