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Wigeon (Anas penelope) Koibagar lake. Photo by Timoshenko Aleksei




Two SCWP Sites in Kazakhstan Designated Ramsar Sites

On 22 May 2009, the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention congratulated the Government of Kazakhstan  on the inclusion of two sites: Koibagar-Tyuntyugur Lake System and Kulykol-Taldykol Lake System into the List of Wetlands of International Importance, effective 7 May 2009.

Spring flyway Koibagar lake. Photo by Aleksei Timoshenko

The preparation of the documents for nomination of four wetlands in the Kostanay oblast (lake systems: Naurzum, Urkash-Zharsor, Koibagar-Tyuntyugur and Kulykol-Taldykol) was started in 2005 within the framework of the UNEP/GEF Siberian Crane Wetland Project executed in Kazakhstan by the Forestry and Hunting Committee. Ramsar Information Sheets and GIS maps of the wetlands were prepared for all sites. Currently, only two wetlands - Koibagar-Tyuntyugur and Kulykol-Taldykol have been considered, and with the support of Lew Young, Senior Regional Advisor for Asia/Oceania, and his Assistant, Ann Aldersey, the nomination documents were approved by the Ramsar Secretariat.

The main reason for these designations was the importance of  these lake systems in maintaining the biodiversity of migratory waterbirds in the Central Asian Flyway, including a number of species included in the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan and IUCN’s Red List.
In 2007, both sites were designated in the Western/Central Asian Site Network for Siberian Cranes and Other Waterbirds under the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species

White-fronted (Anser albifrons) and Greylag Geese (Anser anser) Kulykol lake.
Photo by Potanski

Activities supported by the UNEP/GEF Siberian Crane Wetland Project at the Koibagar-Tyuntyugur and Kulykol-Taldykol Lake Systems include:

  • Training programs on education, public awareness raising, alternative livelihoods, including development of ecotourism, have been conducted in the areas surrounding the lake systems (2007-2008; training workshops on alternative livelihoods initiated in 2005).

  • Monitoring of lake and migratory waterbirds (2005-2008).

  • Ecosystem, soil, flora and fauna GIS maps of both lake systems prepared.

  • A cycle of training workshops (below) on proper identification of especially protected wetland bird species of the Kostanay region, including the two sites, were organized for inspectors and members of the society of hunters and fishermen (2006 - 2008).

    • Program on Environmental Education for teachers, students, lectures of higher education institutions and inspectors of protected territories has involved students from the region. Since 2005 schoolchildren of site villages have been involved in the annual celebration of "Crane Day" organized under the SCWP. (2005 - 2009)

    • TV programs on wetlands in the Kostanay Region were organized. Several booklets on “Key Wetlands of Northern Kazakhstan” were prepared, and more then 1000 have been distributed at both project sites (2005-2009).

    Koibagar-Tyuntyugur Lake System (58,000 hectares, 52 39'N 065 45'E) comprises five river-fed, freshwater lakes characterized by a diversity of habitats including extensive shoreline reed beds, open water and seasonal floodplain wet meadows. The lake system is of great importance for ducks, geese and swans (Anseriformes) during all periods; up to 200,000 molting individuals have been recorded during favorable conditions and as many as 500,000 waterbirds during the period of autumn passage. The site supports 13 bird species on the IUCN Red List, including the Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus) and Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarious), and over 1% of the populations of 12 waterbird species. The area surrounding the lakes is used for agriculture, including grain cropping and animal husbandry. Koibagar and Tyuntyugur lakes are used for commercial fishing, and associated boating activities cause disturbance to bird nesting and migration. Goose hunting, vegetation trampling, and fires also pose threats to the ecological character of the site.

    Red-breasted Geese (Branta ruficollis) Tyuntyugur lake. Photo by Erkki Kellomaki

    Kulykol-Taldykol Lake System (8,300 hectares, 51 23'N 061 52'E) is a wetland complex comprising two large lakes, Kulykol and Taldykol, and several smaller lakes. The complex is highly significant for waterbirds. It is habitat for 12 bird species on the IUCN Red List, including the Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus), and supports tens of thousands of ducks, geese and swans (Anseriformes) during migration and molting, as well as over 1% of the populations of 12 species of waterbird. Forty-five species of wetland birds are reported within the framework of project monitoring to nest at the site. The lake system has a range of habitats including open water, damp meadows and shoreline reed beds. Lake depth and salinity fluctuates seasonally. The site is surrounded by agricultural land - including grain crops attractive to large numbers of geese - and is used for hunting and small-scale fishing by local residents.

    Red-breasted (Branta ruficollis) and White-fronted Geese (Anser albifro) Kulykol lake. Photo by Albert Salemgareev

    Kazakhstan acceded to the Ramsar Convention in May 2007, so inferring obligations on the conservation of internationally significant wetlands on its territory for mankind. On 7 May 2009, the number of Ramsar sites in Kazakhstan increased to four covering 531,141 hectares, including Tengiz-Korgalzhyn lake system and the delta of the Ural River.

    For more information on this program please contact:
    National Project Manager
    Vera Inyutina
    Astana city, tel./fax:8 (7172) 536652
    e-mail: vera.inyutina@mail.ru

    Expert on public participation
    Yekaterina Salyutina
    Astana city, tel./fax:8 (7172) 536656

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