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Location Uzbekistan, Karakalpakstan autonomous region
Central coordinates 60o 22.41' East  43o 39.22' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 39,146 ha
Altitude 49 - 59m
Year of IBA assessment 2011

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)



Summary The Akpetky lake system is located 70 km to the north of Karauzyak village between the northwestern Kyzylkum and Aralkum in the area of the former Akpetky archipelago. Aralkum is a sand desert that has formed on the former Aral seabed. The avifauna of the Akpetky lake system is quite varied. The site is proposed as an IBA based on the analysis of data collected during expeditions on 16-28 October 2010 and 9-17 June 2008, and data obtained by Matekova G.A. in 2007 and 2008 (Table). 156 species of bird have been recorded, of which 19 species are rare, with 17 species included in The Red Data Book of Uzbekistan (2006) and 8 in the IUCN Red List. Water bodies are used for commercial fishing. Due to the remoteness of the site (more than 70 km from the nearest settlement) cattle are not grazed.

Site description The Akpetky lake system is located 70 km to the north of Karauzyak village between the northwestern Kyzylkum and Aralkum in the area of the former Akpetky archipelago. Aralkum is a sand desert that has formed on the former Aral seabed. A number of salt oxbow lakes are located along the Kokdarya riverbed. Some of these are fairly deep (5-7 meters). The largest among them are Ashykul, Akshoky, Orda and Soraly. The lake system is fed by the KS-4 collector and the Kokdarya River. The water bodies have great fishery potential and are leased.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina passage  2010  115-15,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala passage  2010  1-10 individuals  medium  A1  Endangered 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus passage  2007-2010  37-360 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus passage  2010  2-410 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus passage  2010  60-685 individuals  good  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius breeding  2007  unknown unknown  poor  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucopterus breeding  2007  min 3 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Turkestan Ground-jay Podoces panderi breeding  2007  unknown unknown  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis breeding  2007  unknown unknown  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  2007  unknown unknown  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Warbler Sylvia nana breeding  2010  min 1 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Saxaul Sparrow Passer ammodendri breeding  2010  2-13 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus breeding  2010  min 212 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps breeding  2007-2008  min 2 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2007-2010  20,000-26,000 individuals  medium  A4iii   

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Wooded desert & semi-desert  10%
Shrubland Low bushes  10%
Desert Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - sandy  55%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams; Standing brackish & salt water; Temporary water bodies; Water-fringe vegetation  25%

Land ownership The landowners are 2 fishery farms.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 18%

Other biodiversity The vegetation of the desert around the Akpetky lake system is sparse. Around the water bodies saltworts, camel's-thorn and tamarisk bushes can be found. Reedbeds between 3-7 metres deep surround the lakes within which there are patches of reed mace. There are numerous rush islets on the open parts of the lakes and islands in the shallows. In addition to birds, the following vertebrates are common: • 8 fish species: Channa argus, Ctenopharyngodon idella, Abramis brama, Silurus glanis, Carassius carassius, Cyprinus carpio. • Amphibians: Rana ridibunda. • Reptiles: Trapelus sanguinolentus, Phrinocephalus interscapularis, Eremias velox, Natrix tesselata. • 15 mammals: Lepus tolai, Mus musculus, Alactagulus acontion, Dipus sagitta, Allactaga elater, Meriones tamariscinus, Meriones meridianus, Meriones libycus, Ellobius tancrei, Canis lupus, Canis aureus, Vulpes vulpes, Felis chaus, Meles meles, Sus scrofa. In recent years Gazella subgutturosa has been regularly recorded. According to rangers the population is estimated to be approximately 50-60 individuals.

Protection status There is no nature protected area. For the conservation of the unique Akpetky lake system, which is an excellent example of ecosystem recovery, the site should be given protected status. Reserve designation is hampered by the fact that this system is an important fishery. The restoration and water supply of these lakes carried out under the Aral Sea Basin Program (ASBP-1, ASBP-2) were designed specifically for the purpose of improving the environmental and socio-economic support of the local population. Therefore, the exclusion of the Akpetky lake system for reserve designation and a complete withdrawal of the water bodies from economic activity is contrary to the vital interests of the local population. The preferred solution would be the creation of an ornithological reserve with fishing permitted but hunting banned.

Acknowledgements To SOS and CLP project "Survey of 3 Potential IBAs with the collaboration of students"

References 1. Matekova G., 2007. Report for the State Committee for Nature Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan on project "Gathering and processing information and developing an electronic database of the State cadastre of the current status of flora and fauna, as well as water bodies in protected areas of the Republic of Karakalpakstan". 2. Ten A., 2007. UzSPB report on a field survey of the Akpetky lake system and Zholdyrbas lake within the framework of the FAO project "Importance of Akpetkin and Zholdyrbas Lakes for birds and biodiversity", 14-17 July 2008. 3. Ten A., 2007. UzSPB report on a field survey of the Akpetky lake system and Sarykamysh lake within the framework of the CLP-SOS project " Research of 3 Potential IBAs with collaboration of students in Uzbekistan", 16 October – 3 November 2010. 4. IUCN Red List //www.iucnredlist .org 5. Red Data Book of Uzbekistan. V. 2. Animals. Tashkent, 2009. 6. Joldasova I.M. Passport of water bodies: Ashykol, Shatyk, Akpekey, Ortalykkol, Karabayly, Soraly, Karabes

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Akpetky lakes and surrounding Aralkum Desert. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/09/2014

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