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Location China (mainland), Xinjiang
Central coordinates 89o 30.00' East  37o 30.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 125,000 ha
Altitude 3,876 - 4,100m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

Site description Located 190 km south of Ruoqiang (Qarkilik) County and 750 km south of Urumqi. The IBA lies at the edge of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and is a large salt lake adjacent to the Altun Shan and Kunlun Shan mountains. The area of the lake ranges from 51,000 to 65,400 ha, and it is fed by snowmelt and glaciers. The highest peak in the area is named Muztag (6,973 m). The freshwater Yixiekepati Hu lake in the eastern part of the IBA has extensive marshes, and is an important area for both wildlife and people.

Key Biodiversity 

Non-bird biodiversity: Forty-nine mammal species have been recorded in the area, including Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, Panthra uncia, Ursus arctos, Equus kiang, Ovis ammon, Marmota himalayana, Pantholops hodgsoni, and Bos mutus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug unknown  2008  present  A1  Endangered 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus unknown  2008  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis breeding  2008  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus winter  1988  5,000 individuals  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Aerjinshan Nature Reserve 4,500,000 protected area contains site 125,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   -
Grassland   -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ayark Kol and alpine grassland. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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