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Location Kazakhstan, Kyzylorda region
Central coordinates 61o 0.00' East  46o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 139,400 ha
Altitude 40 - 42m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (Affiliate)



Site description The terrestrial part of the IBA is represented by a few low sections of the former shore retaining the general aspect of the northern deserts with typical flora and fauna. Also significant is the area of previous water that is now dry following the dramatic recession of the waters of the Aral Sea almost three decades ago. The subsequent natural development of these particular areas has resulted in a rather diversified character to the area and although initial impressions are that it is desertified, this is in no way severe, and there are numerous shallow despressions with enough moisture to allow the development of moisture-related salt-tolerant biotopes. Other areas with depressions have semi-permanent waterbodies creating a local wetland network. The wildlife communities are similarly adapting to the changing conditions.

Key Biodiversity Approximately 213 species have been recorded in the area. The overall numbers of migrating waterfowl using the site exceed the 20,000 IBA threshold several fold.

Non-bird biodiversity: The mammal and herpetological faunas are typical for the habitat. There is, however, a distinct fish fauna with several endemic species and most species are protected.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greylag Goose Anser anser passage  2005  3,000-5,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea breeding  2005  400-600 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna breeding  2005  500-1,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope passage  2005  8,000-20,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina passage  2005  3,000-4,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina passage  2005  10,000-30,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca breeding  2005  40-100 individuals  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula passage  2005  8,000-20,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena passage  2005  300-600 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus passage  2005  300-1,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis passage  2005  300-1,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea breeding  2005  500-1,500 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba breeding  2005  200-300 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus breeding  2005  150-300 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus breeding  2005  50-100 individuals  medium  A1  Vulnerable 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo passage  2005  1,500-3,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  2005  100-200 individuals  medium  A1  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  2005  6-10 individuals  good  A1  Endangered 
Himantopus himantopus breeding  2005  400-1,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Not Recognised 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta breeding  2005  400-600 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Charadrius alexandrinus breeding  2005  1,000-2,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Not Recognised 
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius breeding  2005  400-1,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus passage  2005  10,000-20,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni breeding  2005  100-200 individuals  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Sterna nilotica breeding  2005  300-500 individuals  medium  A4i  Not Recognised 
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei passage  2005  1,500-2,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2005  1,000-1,500 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2005  50,000-99,999 individuals  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2011 high near favourable not assessed
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Climate change and severe weather drought happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - dams (size unknown) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Marine Coastal/Supratidal   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish & salt water  0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Wetlands (inland) Water-fringe vegetation  0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams; Standing brackish & salt water; Water-fringe vegetation  100%
Marine Coastal/Supratidal   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 40%
water management 5%

Protection status Planning is in progress for part of the Syrdariya delta, and adjoining portion of the Lesser Aral, to be incorporated into the existing “Barsakelmes” State Nature Reserve.

References 1. V.G. Berezovsky, E.M. Auhezov, V.V. Khrokov. Contemporary state of ornitho-fauna of the Eastern Shore of Aral Sea and the prognosis of its composition alterations due to the process of a dramatic drying up of the main water-body. The wild-life of Kazakhstan and the problems of is protection. Almaty, 1982. P.30-31. (in Russian) 2. V.A. Gratchov. Birds of the Aralsk environs and of Kymylybash lake (based on materials of 1951-1954 serveys).Non-Passerines. “Selevinia”, 2000, # 1-4. P.95-104. (in Russian) 3. S.N. Yerokhov. Observations on birds at the Northern Coast of Aral Sea. Kazakhstan Ornithological Bulletin of 2003. Almaty, 2004. P.40-41. (in Russian) 4. A. V. Kovalenko. Ornithological investigation in the lower reaches of Syrdariya river and sundry contiguous territories in 2005. Kazakhstan Ornithological Bulletin of 2005. Almaty, 2006. P 59-69. (in Russian) 5. A. F. Kovshar. Observations on the birds of river Syrdariya’s delta and adjacent dried-up territories of the receded Aral Sea in August of 2000. “ Selevinia”, 2000, # 1-4, P. 104-110. (in Russian) 6. V.V. Khrokov. On bird populations’ numbers in Syrdariya delta and at the nearby lakes in the spring of 2001. Birds’ migrations in Asia. Iss.12. Works of Institute of zoology, v.47, Almaty, 2004. P. 216-230. (in Russian) 7. B.M. Gubin Modern state of bird diversity in northern Aral Sea region and problems of its conservation//Sustainable use of natural resources of Central Asia. Envir. problems of Aral Sea and surrounding areas. Almaty, 1998. P. 23. .B.M. Gubin Problems Associated with Animal Diversity and Conservation in the Modern Aral sea//Abstract in the second Arab Int. Conference end Expedition on Envir. Biotechnology (Coastal Habitats) 8-12 April 2000. Abu-Dhabi, 2000. P. 43

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lesser Aral Sea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/12/2014

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