Mongolia names two new Ramsar sites

mongolia.gif (1569 bytes)Mongolia joined the Convention on Wetlands in December 1997 and named Mongol Daguur (210,000 hectares) as its first Wetland of International Importance.  Not long thereafter, on 6 July 1998, Mongolia designated three more Ramsar sites - Ogii Nuur, Terhiyn Tsagaan Nuur, and Valley of Lakes - to bring its total to 264,220 hectares.  The two new sites are here described by Rebecca D'Cruz of the Bureau, based upon the Ramsar Information Sheets submitted with the designations.


Site: Har Us Nuur National Park

Date of designation: 13 April 1999

Region, province, state: Hovd Province

Area: 321,360 ha

Coordinates: 92 50'E 47 58'N

Description: The Ramsar site encompasses three large but shallow lakes - Har Us Nuur, Har Nuur and Dorgon Nuur. Vast reed beds and extensive aquatic plant communities provide a suitable habitat for a large number of breeding and migratory waterbirds, including the globally threatened Anser cygnoides, Aythya nyroca, White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala and Relict Gull Larus relictus. Three species of fish endemic to Western Mongolia occur in these lakes.

Criteria: 1a, 1c, 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 3a, 3b, 3c and 4a

The lakes belongs to the Central Asian Internal Drainage Basin and are therefore of fundamental importance for the groundwater recharge of the area. The site is also of social and cultural because of the presence of a number of sacred places and archeological sites.

Current land use around the lakes is semi-nomadic animal husbandry. The area was set aside as a National Park in 1997, and is administered by 5 fulltime staff.

The proposed construction of a hydroelectric power plan adjacent to the national park, overgrazing of pastureland and the introduction of the Muskrat Ondatra zibethica are the main threats to the ecological integrity of the site.


Site: Ayrag Nuur

Date of designation: 13 April 1999

Region, province, state: Hovd Province

Area: 45,000 ha

Coordinates: 93 25'E 48 53'N

Description: Ayrag Nuur is a shallow freshwater lake in the Mongolian Great Lakes Basin. It is an exceptionally important breeding and resting site for a variety of waterbirds and the only remaining place in Mongolia where the Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus regularly comes to breed.

Criteria: 1a, 1c, 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 3a, 3b, 3c, 4a

The lake belongs to an internal drainage basin and is therefore of fundamental importance for the groundwater recharge of the area. Apart from the Dalmatian Pelican, other noteworthy waterbird species include the globally threatened Anser cygnoides and the Relict Gull Larus relictus.

Land use around the wetland is limited to semi-nomadic animal husbandry. Overgrazing of the pastureland threatens the plant communities around the wetland, and disturbs breeding birds.

Plans are underway to have the area included in the Hyargas National Park which is to be established in late 1999.

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