The Annotated Ramsar List: Kyrgyz Republic


The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance



The Convention on Wetlands came into force for the Kyrgyz Republic on 12 March 2003. The Kyrgyz Republic presently has 3 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 679,408 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Chatyr Kul. 08/11//05; Naryn Oblast; 16,100 ha; 40°37'N 075°18'E. State Reserve. A saline high altitude lake (3,530m asl.) in the Tien Shan Mountains with pristine ecosystem. The main inflow runs from the Ak-say river and the lake plateau is bound between the edges of At-Bashi (4,700m) and Kakshalto ridges (5,500m) with permanent snowfields and glaciers, forming the border between Kyrgyzstan and China. It is one of the few habitats for Pamir Brown-headed Gulls, a breeding area for Bar-headed geese, and crucial for nine species of moulting ducks, especially Tadorna ferruginea, representing about 40% of the global population. A significant population of IUCN Redlisted Argali Sheep (Ovis ammon) is also found grazing at the plateau. The absence of ichthyofauna, high transparency and shallowness of the lake support luxuriant growth of submerged macrophytes like Potamogeton and high population of rare invertebrates like Gammarus krevetki. Located near the Torugart Pass, the lake basin was once a part of the Silk Route, and remnants of a 10th century caravanserai can still be seen. Over hundreds of years, local nomads have been using the lake area for grazing horses in summer. Ramsar site no. 1588. Most recent RIS information: 2005.

Issyk-Kul State Nature Reserve with the Issyk-Kul Lake. 12/11/02; Issyk Kul Province; 626,439 ha; 42º25’00’’N 077º15’00’’E. (First designated for the Ramsar List by the Soviet Union in 1976, added to the Montreux Record, 4 July 1990.) UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The second largest saline lake in the world, Isyk-Kul is fed by over 80 streams and minor channels, but has no outflow. The name means “hot lake” because, despite its high altitude (1609m), the lake itself never freezes over – the average water temperature is 22° C. The site is of primary importance as a wintering site for migratory waterbirds (up to 70,000 birds recorded annually). Notable waterbird species include the endangered White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala). The lake is home to 28 fish species of which 7 are found nowhere else in the world. The silt from the lake and the hot springs at Aksu are thought to have medicinal properties, which has led to the development and expansion of health resorts along its shore. Ramsar site no. 1231 (formerly Ramsar site no. 109). Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Son-Kol Lake. 23/01/2011; Naryn oblast; 36,869 ha; 41°50'N 75°07'E. Karatal-Japyryk State Nature Reserve. The largest high altitude freshwater lake in central Kyrgyzstan, valuable both as a stopover point for a high diversity of migratory birds, such as the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), as well as supporting breeding populations of gulls (e.g., Larus spp), terns (e.g., Sterna hirundo), geese (e.g., Anser indicus), and grebes (e.g. Podiceps nigricollis). The site also offers refuge for threatened species like the critically endangered Great Bustard (Otis tarda) and the vulnerable Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug). The lake is important for maintaining the livelihood of pastoralists and is also a popular camping site for tourists. Historically, the lake was used as a meeting place for many tribes, and it is archaeologically significant for its burial mounds, stone monuments and stone hearths. Local people consider the lake and its basin as sacred and often visit this area to pray. Prior to 1957 the lake was fishless but, since then, introduced fish (e.g., Coregonus peled) have provided alternative sources of food. Such introductions have altered the zooplankton composition in the lake, however, which in turn has affected the number of bird species occurring in the area. The site is jointly managed by the Karatal-Japyryk State Nature Reserve and the State oblast administration. Ramsar site no. 1943. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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