Discovery Kyrgyzstan
 
Discovery Kyrgyzstan travel guide #10/2008
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Fauna

FaunaThe wildlife found in Kyrgyzstan is also rich and diverse. Over the territory of Kyrgyzstan one can find animal life typical of deserts and forests, valleys and mountains, steppes and meadows.

There are about 500 different species of vertebrates and over 3000 species of insects which have been catalogued, including 60 species of dragon-fly, 86 species of butterfly, 86 species of ants, 33 species of bees, and 250 species of cicadas. Some of these insects have a detrimental effect - for example adding to the denudation of the forest reserves.

FaunaStocks of 49 different species of fish can be found in the waters of Kyrgyzstan's lakes and reservoirs. (The number of species varies according to the authorities quoted - a book published in 2004 put the figure at 54 species - 38 of which were considered indigenous and 16 introduced). In Lake Issyk-Kul there are chebachok, chebak, sazan, carp, trout, marinka, osman, bream, line, pike-perch, sig, and crucian. In the various reservoirs and rivers: sazan, crucian, barbel, pike, marinka and other species of fish. Trout can be found in mountain rivers.

There are 25 species of reptiles including tortoises, lizards, and snakes.

Ornithologists can spot a wide variety of bird-life which includes some 335 species. In different areas of the country one can encounter pheasant, grey herons, the "cherry bird", woodpecker, eagle-owl, silvered sea-gull, red-wing flamingo amongst others. On Lake Issyk-Kul you can meet "hissing" swans, "crying" swans, grey geese, and pelicans. It is estimated that between 60 to 70 thousand migratory birds can be found here during the winter. Amongst the rare species of birds it is possible to see in Kyrgyzstan are "balaban", white stork, golden eagle, bearded vulture, bustard, demoiselle crane, "snake eater", white-tail sea eagle, steppe eagle, black stork. Cranes congregate at Son Kul and Chartyr Kul on their migratory journeys.

FaunaMammals are represented by 83 different species, including Mountain Sheep (arkhar), bears, and "maral" in the spruce forests of the Tien-Shan and in the Ak-Sai, Arpa, and Suusamyr high mountain valleys. The mountain ridges and valleys provide homes for foxes, wolves, badger, weasel, ermine, and stone martens. In some regions it is also possible to find snow leopard (Bars), wild boar, roe deer, Siberian goat, porcupine, hedgehog, hare, marmot, and "andatrum".

A number of books have published as a direct result of the TACIS West Tien Shan Biodiversity Project (with text in both English and Russian) which give a lot of information about the range and variety of the different wildlife to be found in the country: "Looking at Birds in the Kyrgyz Republic", "Looking at Fishes in Kyrgyzia" and "Looking at Mammals in Kyrgyzia".

One of the observations in the book on mammals is that although the diversity of wildlife is very great, much of it is restricted to more remote regions, is naturally "shy" of man, and/or is nocturnal, so it can be difficult to guarantee exactly what wildlife you will actually get to see.

Discovery Kyrgyzstan #5

 

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