Kazakhstan Becomes Party to Ramsar Convention

by Nathan Hamm on 1/15/2007

Kazakhstan has become the 154th Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an international treaty to protect and conserve wetlands with the Tengiz-Korgalzhyn Lake System becoming the first Ramsar site in the country.

The site comprises the complete lake system, the lake shore areas as well as a buffer zone. Altogether the area totals some 353,000 hectares.

An associated nature museum and visitors’ centre will encourage the use of the site for science-based tourism and research.

The lake system is in the Akmola Oblast, 120 kilometers from Astana, and, as the Ramsar site explains, the system actually already was a Ramsar site when Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union. It has been redefined from its Soviet-era boundaries by Kazakhstan to include a buffer zone. The Ramsar site also explains the importance of the wetlands to bird life.

An enormous number of birds stop over in the region – on the mud islands on lake Tengiz the northernmost colony of Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber [I think they mean “roseus”], the symbol of the Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve) reaches up to 14,000 breeding pairs. The Korgalzhyn Lakes harbor big colonies of the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelicanus crispus) with over 500 breeding pairs nesting in the vast reed beds (10% of the world population). The White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) is breeding and resting at the fresh and brackish lakes; in autumn it can be observed in numbers of up to 4,000 birds (30-40% of the world population) in the protected area.


Go to the Ramsar story on Kazakhstan’s entry for a map of the site and photos of the area. Wetlands.kz also has information on the reserve and other wetlands projects in Kazakhstan. Below is a satellite image of the reserve from NASA World Wind.

korgalzhyn.jpg

Elsewhere in Central Asia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan are also Parties to Ramsar. Uzbekistan has one site, Lake Dengizkul. Tajikistan has five designated sites, and Kyrgyzstan has two, Issyk-kul and Chatyr Kul.

Many thanks to Ben, knowing how much I like birds, for sending this my way.


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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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