|Central coordinates||73o 20.15' East 39o 1.76' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A3, A4i|
|Altitude||3,923 - 5,470m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2006|
Site description The IBA is located 450 km from the provincial centre of Horog and 140 km from the district centre of Murgab. Almost all of the IBA, except Karakul lake, is situated at more than 4,000 m above sea level. Relief is varied. Plains alternate with hills and rocks in the north-eastern and southern parts of the territory. The Zulumtar range, 40 km in length and 30 km wide, runs from south to west in the southern part of the site. The highest peak of this range is 5,470 m. Karakul lake is tectonic in origin. The glaciers of the nearest ranges are the water sources for the lake. The Akdjilga, Karadgilga and Muzkol rivers and more than 20 permanent and seasonal springs, flow into the lake. The IBA includes Karakul lake, islands, marshes, wet meadows, peatbogs, and pebbly and sandy plains. Karakul is a closed, brackish lake. Its level is determined by the quantity of incoming water and evaporation. The area of water surface of the lake is 380 square km, the maximum depth is 238 m. Overgrowing of the surface of the lake is low. Pondweeds dominate in the littoral zone. This lake isn't important for fishing. The IBA lies within the Tajik National Park. It is included in the recreation and partial economic development zones and used as pasture. The only settlement is the small village of Karakul. The lake's islands are the main places where waterbirds rest and nest.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus||breeding||2002-2006||25-50 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea||passage||2002-2006||900-3,000 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Common Merganser Mergus merganser||resident||2002-2006||400-600 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Saker Falcon Falco cherrug||winter||2002-2006||4 individuals||medium||A1||Endangered|
|Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis||resident||2002-2006||2-4 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus||breeding||2002-2006||40-50 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus||breeding||2002-2006||25-50 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Tibetan Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes tibetanus||resident||2002-2006||30-50 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Yellow-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus||resident||2002-2006||100-150 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|White-tailed Rubythroat Luscinia pectoralis||breeding||2002-2006||5-8 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|White-winged Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus||breeding||2002-2006||10-15 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis||-||2002-2006||100-200 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Rufous-streaked Accentor Prunella himalayana||breeding||2002-2006||15-20 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens||breeding||2002-2006||20-25 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Black-headed Mountain-finch Leucosticte brandti||resident||2002-2006||150-200 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla||resident||2002-2006||80-100 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Karakul Lake||Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)||36,400||protected area contained by site||36,400|
|Tajik National Park||National Park||2,600,000||protected area contains site||95,000|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||60%|
Other biodiversity Fish: there is only species (Nemachilus) in Karakul lake and the Karadjilga river which is a autochthonous species and doesn't have any value for fishing. Mammals: have a high level of diversity and endemism. Rodents are represented by 3 species - Marmota caudata, Microtus juldaschi and Alticola argentatus. Leporidae include Lepus tolai and Ochonota roylei (macrotis) (Abdusalyamov, 1961,1962; Odinashoev, 1987). Ovis ammon polii and Capra sibirica are to be found in the western and northern parts of the IBA. Predators include Uncia uncia, Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, Mustela nivalis and Mustela erminea. The vegetation of Karakul as in other parts of Pamir has a desert character and can be divided into 4 belts. Nival belt, situated above 4,800 m above sea level. Here the frost-resistant plants Ajania tibetica, Melandrium apetalum, Cerastium cerastoides, Oxitropis immersa, Sibbaldia tetrandra and others occur. Upper alpine and lower alpine belts are located between 4,200 and 4,800 m above sea level. The sub-shrub Ajania tibetica dominates in more dry sites. The cryophytes Oxitropis immersa, Oxitropis poncinsii and Smelovskia calycina prevail in the wet places (Stanyukovich,1949). Desert formations are typical in the lower alpine belt with the dominants being Krascheninnikovia (Eurotia) ceratoides, Artemisia skorniakowii and Ajania tibetica. Almost the same type of vegetation is found in the subalpine belt. Permanent grasses are dominant in the marshes. Among them are Puccinelia pamirica, Trisetum spicatum, Stipa orientalis, Alopecurus mucronatus, Poa calliopsis, Poa pamirica, Poa relaxa, Poa tremuloides, Poa litvinoviana, Puccinellia humilis and others.
Protection status The IBA is located in the Tajik National Park. It is included in the zones of recreation and tourism.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Karakul lake and mountains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/12/2013
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