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Nature Reserves

Aksu-Zhabagly (South-Kazakhstan region). Set up in 1927. It derived its name from those of Aksu and Zhabagly. Quite remarkable is the canyon of the Aksu river: its banks are almost vertical (up to 300-500 m), often fairly inaccessible. Total area makes up 85,300 ha. It embraces picturesque Alpine landscapes of North-West ridges of the Talass Alatau and the Ugam range. In the reserve one can find 1,404 species of plants while the fauna is represented by 47 and 239 species of animals and birds respectively. Typical inhabitants - Siberian ibex, roe, Caspian deer, boar, weasel, vulture with rare species among them: snow leopard, Turkestan lynx, Pamir argali, red bear, golden eagle, saker falcon, short-toed eagle.
The reserve plays host to paleontological burial places Karabastau and Akbastau on the slopes of the Karatau mountain. We witness here rarest ever imprints of all sorts of fish, molluses, tortoises, insects of Jurassic period which once inhabited the sea basin that lapped here some 120 million years ago.

Naurzum one (Kostanai region). Set up in 1934 with the aim of protecting the Naurzum pine forest - one of the southernmost massifs of pine forests in Kazakhstan while the region’s lake harbours nesting places of water fowl. The territory is as large as 87,700 ha. The reserve is inhabited with 39 species of animals and 239 species of birds and there grow some 961 species of plants. Incidentally, white heron refers to one of the exceedingly rare and most interesting inhabitants of the reserve.

Kurgaldzhino (Akmola region). Set up in 1968 for purposes of preserving the rarest ever nesting bird - pink flamingo. Indeed, the lake of Tenghiz is the northernmost nesting place of the pink flamingo. The reserve extends for some 243,700 ha of which 199,200 ha, i.e. more than one half thereof, is occupied by water table. One can encounter here 42 species of animals, 298 bird species and 331 species of plants. The number of waterfowl here is particularly impressive let alone the fact that it includes such rare species as Dalmatian pelican, flamingo and mute swan, both nesting and ecdysial.
Tenghiz-Kurgaldzhino lakes are the place that attracts immense numbers of waterfowl in periods of spring migrations, the very phenomenon that has brought world renown to the reserve. It is far from fortuitous that the place is entered in the list of UNESCO as a particularly protected landscape of swamp-and-lake areas.
Almaty reserve (Almaty reion). Founded in 1961 to enclose the territory of 73,300 ha. The reserve numbers 137 species of plants, 39 species of animals and 200 species of birds. Referring to rare ones are red bear, snow leopard and Turkestan lynx.
The reserve proper includes a desert-like section of the valley of the Ili-river known for its uncommonly unique natural phenomenon - sand barkhans. These are the so-called “singing sands” 150 m high producing loud sounds when one moves along their floaty slopes. The landscape is quite picturesque, “embellished” with plentiful glaciers, firn basins and rocks.
Markakol natural reserve (East Kazakhstan region). Set up in the year of 1976 as a measure of protection and study of the natural complex of the South Altai. The area totals 75,000 ha. There are 721 species of plants, 59 species of animals and 25 species of birds in the reserve. Most common species are bears and Caspian deer. Of particular interest is no doubt a big mountain lake Markakol of tectonic origin: it lies at a height of 1,485 m above sea level. Its water table ranges for some 544 sq.m with maximum depth down to 27 m. One of the inhabitants thereof is a quite rare fish - uskuch whitefish.

Ustyurt reserve (Mangystau region). Set up in 1984 with the territory of 223,000 ha. It occupies a portion of the chink of the Ustyurt plateau. There are no permanent water flows but there occur drainless basins of which the largest is Barsakelmes, 70x30 km in size. The reserve protects 261 species of plants, 27 animal species and 111 species of birds. Reptiles are quite widespread: 27 species. Desert monitor is entered in the Red Book. Nearly just as rare are Ustyurt munflon, long-needled hedgehog, Persian gazelle, karakal lynx, golden eagle, short-toed eagle, Egyptian vulture, saker falcon.
 West-Altai reserve (East-Kazakhstan region). Set up in 1991, totalling an area of 56,000 ha. It numbers 564 species of plants, 30 animal species and 120 species of birds.