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Buiratau, new national park established in Kazakhstan

24 March 2011 19:52 24
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ASTANA. March 24. KAZINFORM A significant portion of the world's remaining natural Pontian steppe habitat is found within Kazakhstan. Since ancient times the Kazakh steppe has had an important economic and environmental role to play for local population. However steppes appear to be the least protected ecosystem type in Kazakhstan.

To conserve unique steppe ecosystems of Central Kazakhstan Upland a Resolution was adopted on 11th of March, 2011 under the number 247 about establishment of Buiratau state national nature park.

It is the twelfth national park in Kazakhstan established by Committee of Forestry and Hunting, Ministry of Agriculture within the framework of Zhasyl Damu programme for 2011-2014 under support of UNDP/GEF Project "Steppe conservation and management".

Buiratau, a new national park (translated from Kazakh as 'a curly mountain') is arranged in transitional zones between moderately arid and dry steppes which implies that the area is unique combining steppe ecosystems and forests (birch, spinescent, sticky alder forest). The park is located in the area of Yereimentau district, Akmola oblast (60814 ha) and Osakarovsk district, karagandy oblast (28154 ha). The total area of the national park is 88 968 ha.
Floristic diversity of the national park is represented by more than 450 species of vascular plants. One fifth of the unique steppe flora of Central Kazakhstan Upland will be conserved in the park. There are more than 30 rare and endangered species of flora and species with limited habitat: European alder, Siberian hawksbeard, spleenwort fern, spring Adonis, steppe peony, common garden tulip, Paris herb, flower cup fern, the UNDP's press release reads.

Fauna of the national park has 45 species of mammals related to 5 orders and 15 families which is 71% and 39% of taxons in Kazakhstan. The most northern and isolated from other populations in Kazakh uplands, Yereimantau wild sheep population inhabits the lowlands of the park and there are more than 200 individuals of the specie. It's of importance to note the wild sheep acclimatation is being successfully accomplished of which number is more than 100 individuals.

Avifauna of the national park is represented by 227 bird species (46% of all avifauna) out of which 127 are nesting birds. Dominant ornithological sets are the following: steppe, shrub, petrophilous, forest, meadow and wetland. There are 13 bird species nesting and listed in the Red book of Kazakhstan In the park: spoonbill, whopper swan, Ferruginous duck, common scoter, white-headed duck, steppe eagle, imperial eagle, common crane, Demoiselle crane, little bustard, sociable lapwing, eagle owl. The park also shelters 17 species of the Red book insects.

A similar regional nature park of local importance, Belodymov and Yereimentau state nature sanctuaries of republican importance joined the Buiratau park. The park is established on the reserved and state forest fund areas of Temirtau and Yerementau forestry institutions. The central office of the park will be arranged in Molodezhnyi village, Karagandy oblast. The staff will consist of 94 individuals.

Currently out of 25 republican protected areas with strict conservation status the steppe ecosystems are being protected at Irgiz-Turgai state nature rezervat, Naurzum and Korgalzhyn state nature reserves (sub-zone of moderately arid steppes), Bayanaul (sub-zone of dry sheep fescue steppe) and Karkaralinsk (forest steppe) state national nature parks.

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