Restoration of Barsakelmes Nature Reserve
Barsakelmes nature reserve in the Aral Sea has been named Kazakhstan’s miracle. The reserve is part of the UN eco-projects. According to experts, flora and fauna of an island bordering with Uzbekistan, should be studied thoroughly. More than 298 species of plants and 56 species of animals grow and live in this amazing place. However, the island gained worldwide fame in the mid-20th century. The fame of the reserve is connected with the kulan, the onager which was enlisted in the red book and then had entirely disappeared.Later eight adult animals were brought from Turkmenistan to the island. Now the population has exceeded 500 heads. Initially, the protected area amounted to more than 16,000 hectares. Then an ecosystem improved, the area expanded tenfold. In addition, projects are being implemented to introduce green and moisture-preserving technologies in different zones of the reserve.
ZAURESH ALIMBETOVA, DIRECTOR, BARSAKELMES NATURE RESERVE:
- The Barsakelmes reserve is included in the list of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The Aral Sea and the Syr Darya River are considered as significant wetlands and listed in the international conventions. Our goal is to protect and preserve these natural resources for future generations.
Barsakelmes joined the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. 18 projects worth US$300,000 have been implemented here with the support of the UN international development program.
TALGAT KERTESHEV, PROJECT MANAGER, UNDP:
- We have certified eight water channels. Funds for clearing were allocated and a legal status was restored and they were transferred to local executive bodies.
Barsakelmes is the only reserve in the world located in the area of an ecological disaster of a global scale. The reserve plays a central role in preserving the biodiversity of the Aral Sea and is an open-air laboratory. According to experts, a wide range of expeditions needs to be organized here. Then a progress in preserving the island will be made.