Our Beautiful World

Its People and its beautiful Nature  
Part III - Fauna

Over six thousand kinds of plants are growing in Kazakhstan.
On its open spaces it is possible to meet about 500 kinds of birds, 178 kinds of animals, 49 kinds of reptiles,
12 kinds of amphibians, and in the rivers and lakes - 107 kinds of fishes.

A variety of invertebrate animals here is even more: not only there are more then thousand kinds of insects.
Mollusks, worms, spiders, crustaceous and others living in Kazakhstan are not less than 30 thousand kinds.

Only in Kazakhstan live such rare animals as Transcaspian urial, long-needle hedgehog
and some wild cats: caracal and desert cat. Here is a lot of slim goitred gazelles,
deserted birds - black-tailed sand grouse, Pallas sand grouse, Syrrhaptes paradoxus, wheatear and larks.

Tien Shan scenery. Here you can easily find both Goldcrest, Regulus regulus,
Eurasian Buzzard, Buteo buteo, and Eurasian Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus

Copyright © 2010 10,000 Birds.

The slopes of Northern Tien Shan are covered with fur-tree woods, and Western Tien Shan - with the low bushes and
meadows; the gorges have apple- and nut-trees with woods, the tops are covered with eternal snows and glaciers.

Lammergeyer, Gypaetus barbatus, med et vingespenn på over 3 meter!
Photo: Richard Bartz, Munich aka Makro Freak

Only here it is possible to meet fury ounce, Tien Shan brown bear, Siberian ibex, and from birds - famous lammergeyer,
the scope of which wings reaches more than three meters, Snow cock (it calls also mountain turkey), snow vulture,
griffon vulture, favorite of the Kazakh hunters - golden eagle, high-mountainous finches, chough and Alpine chough.

In the Altai mountains of Kazakhstan, covered with taiga woods you will meet a giant moose, beautiful maral,
our smallest deer - musk deer, famous sable, chipmunk.

Photo credit: Brent Huffman, http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/saiga.htm

The Saiga antelope once roamed from western Europe, across the Eurasian continent and into Alaska.
It now only lives in areas of the dry steppes and semi deserts of Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Kalmykia.

The Saiga is a very curious looking animal. Most remarkable about it is its huge nose.Its internal structure is
composed of an intricate network of  bones, hairs, and mucous-secreting glands. During summer migrations
it helps filter out dust kicked up by the herd and cools the animals blood. During the winter it heats up the
frigid air before it is taken into the lungs, thereby reducing heat loss in its body.
Info this frame from http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/saiga.htm


Here is possible to see capercaillie, Tetrao urogallus, hazel grouse, Bonasa bonasia, partridges.
On high-mountainous lake Markakol in Southern Altai ofKazakhstan was founded a national park for protection
of flora and fauna, especially of fishes. On lakes there are a lot of waterfowl birds. And in the woods on its coast were
kept nesting-places of such rare birds as fish hawk and black stork, Ciconia nigra; at tops are living very rare here snow cock.

Photo from http://petcrunch.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html
A tame golden eagle chases a hare during a traditional hunting contest in central Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan's national sport of Sayat - or hunting with golden eagles - is popular in the Central Asian state.
This hare escaped from eagle.

The steppes of Kazakhstan are magnificent. The special charm to them is given by fresh and salty lakes, on which are
thousands of waterfowls and coastal birds submitted tens kinds of ducks, geese, gull, sea swallow, herons.

Besides lakes most southern here in Kazakhstan is protected unique pine wood. A lot of predatory birds are living in
Kazakhstan steppes - imperial eagle, falcons.

Eurasian Capercaill, Tetrao urogallus
Source: http://www.belforest-centre.com/images/animals/capercailye/capercailye_002.jpg

The deserts of Kazakhstan are rather original. Basically, it is extensive clay plains, covered by bushes and warmot.
For Kazakhstan deserts are most typical reptiles - Central Asian turtle, the largest lizard - grey monitor lizard
(lives only in Kyzylkum desert), sand- and toad agama, many kinds of gecko and 17 kinds of the snakes,
from which only three are poisonous: steppe and ordinary adder and mocassin.

The Piebald Shrew (Diplomesodon pulchellum) belongs to the smallest mammal of the world – the shrew.
Its body mass is about 10 grams. The Piebald Shrew lives in the deserts of Kazakhstan and Turkmenia,
avoiding areas of shifting sand. In Russia it is found in the South of the Astrakhan Region and is recognized
as a rare animal. In Kazakhstan the Piebald Shrew is included in the Red Data Book of Threatened Species.

The Shrews are amazing animals: their metabolism rate is unusually high. They eat a lot of food and digest it very
fast. Most of the animals may die if they do not have any food for more then three hours. The Shrew`s diet
consists mainly of lizards and insects. The Shrew can catch a lizard almost twice its own size and eat it in one go.

However, living in the desert, the Piebald Shrew has adapted to regular periods when water or food are not
available. Unlike other shrews, it can live without food for some time, and under such unfavorable conditions
it falls into a stupor-like state.

Photo and text in this frame: http://www.moscowzoo.ru/get.asp?Id=N232

Dalmatian pelicans, Pelecanus crispus, at Irgiz-Turgay
(photo courtesy GEF/UNDP) (Courtesy Photo)

The work of conservation groups and state agencies have resulted in the establishment of a new nature
reserve in the steppes of northwestern Kazakhstan.

The Irgiz-Turgay project safeguards habitat for the rare saiga antelope and endangered bird species.
But environmentalists say it is part of a much larger initiative to create a system of protected areas of more
than 6 million hectares in Kazakhstan's steppes.

A scene from Irgiz-Turgay
(photo courtesy Sergey Yerokhov)

Last year, our Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity [in Kazakhstan] organized two special surveys
at the lakes [of the lower Irgiz and Turgay river basins] and found more than 300 pairs of Dalmatian pelicans, Pelecanus crispus, [and] more than 300 [specimens of] white-headed ducks.
And the total number of waterbirds in summer 2006 was about 250,000. In autumn 2005 about 200,000.

The Dalmatian pelican's breeding grounds include Central Asia, South Caucasus, Russia, Ukraine, and Iran.
Following massive declines, its population is believed to have stabilized at up to 20,000 individuals.

White-headed ducks, Oxyura leucocephala, breed primarily in Russia and Kazakhstan, but also Central Asia,
Iran, Afghanistan, and Armenia. Their numbers are believed to have declined to some 10,000.

text and photo in this frame http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1075716.html

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