Lake Julturbas in Uzbekistan’s northwestern Karakalpakstan region has been added to the List of Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands – the intergovernmental treaty that governs the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. This was announced on February 12th during the 14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP14), which is taking place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan this week. Lake Julturbas was once part of a bay of the Aral Sea, the fourth-largest lake in the world until around 1960, along with the nearby Sudochye Lake System, which is also a Wetland of International Importance. Since the severe reduction in the Aral Sea area, Lake Julturbas has become an important stopover for many birds migrating along the Central Asian and African-Eurasian flyways. It supports about 25,000 waterbirds annually, and 1% of the regional populations of at least seven bird species, including ferruginous duck, red-crested pochard, and white-headed duck. There are 15 species of fish, and five of them are endemic to the Aral Sea region, including two critically endangered species – the dwarf sturgeon and the Amu Darya sturgeon. There are also some land animals living around the periphery of the lake, such as the vulnerable goitered gazelle. Activities such as cattle grazing, reed harvesting, fishing and hunting are allowed for the local communities living around the lake.
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Almaty Zoo is helping to replenish the Amur tiger population under an international conservation program. The Amur tiger population is still declining, and the main challenge for scientific foundations from different countries is breeding new cubs. Almost 400 species of animals live at the Almaty Zoo. Among them are llamas, chimpanzees, hippopotamus and tigers, with the latter comprising a family of nine individuals. The clan is headed by 13-year-old Urman, who arrived in Kazakhstan at one-year-old from the Perm Zoo in Russia by way of an international conservation program. "The main objective of the program is to preserve the genetic diversity of animals in the northern part of Eurasia and their reproduction, including in captivity. That's why we carefully searched for a mate for Urman, and not so long ago we managed to bring in a tigress, Tasha, from Moscow," said Akzhami Rakhimova of the Almaty Zoo. Now, staff are carefully monitoring the pair's behavior and diet so they can give reproduce. The last time tiger cubs were born at the zoo was three years ago. They were given the names Aya, Zoya, Maya, and Sherkhan. Zookeepers celebrate the birthdays of their charges, and very soon the birthday of Bentley, who arrived from the circus in Astana, is coming up. He will be five-years-old, and since he's already reached puberty, he'll soon need a mate. The staff note that the zoo is home for these animals which don't know life beyond captivity, as they either came from the circus or were born here. The tigers are quite accustomed to the attention of visitors and to eating on schedule.
The Department of Ecology in Tashkent's Ohangaron district uncovered the illegal capture of eleven migratory birds. The investigation revealed that individuals had engaged in unlawful bird hunting within the Geolog mahalla area of the Ohangaran district. Subsequent inquiries led to the identification of the perpetrators. Each individual involved was issued an administrative protocol under part 1 of Article 90 of the Administrative Code, resulting in a fine of 3.4 million som ($275). Ongoing raids will continue to address such activities.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image="13537" img_size="full" el_class="scond-image" parallax_scroll="no" woodmart_inline="no"][vc_column_text woodmart_inline="no" text_larger="no"]Previously, in November, activists highlighted an incident involving the unlawful hunting of a protected bird of prey within mountain reserves. In a message posted on its Telegram channel, the Ekologuz group urged the Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection of Uzbekistan and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to identify the individuals responsible and provide an official response regarding the situation. The Taskara bird involved in this incident holds a place in Uzbekistan's Red Data Book, signifying its endangered status and the need for stringent conservation measures.
A foreigner tried to take saiga horns worth 2 billion tenge from Kostanay. During a search, 916 saiga horns and about 7.5 million tenge in cash were found in the bags, the Kostanay region police department reported. Presumably, the offender caused about 2 billion tenge in damage to the state. He was arrested and placed in a temporary detention facility. On 25 December, Leonardo DiCaprio, esteemed Hollywood actor and environmentalist, brought attention to the Kazakh government success in saving the saiga population on his Instagram page. “Congrats to the government of Kazakhstan, which invested heavily in anti-poaching initiatives, robust law enforcement, and the establishment of new protected areas”. The antelope species has been reclassified from critically endangered to near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, with Kazakhstan population growing from 48,000 in 2005 to over 1.9 million in the wild.