Country of birds: why should you visit Aksu-Zhabagly national park

Country of birds: why should you visit Aksu-Zhabagly national park

One can endlessly admire the sights of our country in front of foreign places of interest. But one thing is certain: the unique natural beauty of Kazakhstan should be seen at least once, and be sure to show it to your children. Red book animals and plants, endemics that live and grow only here, and even rocks, valleys, mountains, rivers and steppe – all kinds of natural objects are so beautifully and diversely represented in Kazakhstan that it would be a crime to forget about them.

Many of these points on the map have been protected by the state for a very long time – for example, the National Park Aksu-Zhabagly, the first and the oldest in Kazakhstan. From Soviet times, this is the main guarantee that the local nature was preserved in the best way for 93 years, since 1926, condition of flora and fauna is carefully and lovingly cared by the experts. Furthermore, the National park is protected by the state and the law. The resolution on the organization of the National Park states that it was established by the Council of People’s Commissars of the Kazakh Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic with the goal of fully preserving Aksu and Zhabagly rivers with all their trees and shrubs plantings, grassland and inhabiting the animal world – as a monument of nature. ”

Nice fact that over the years specialists have developed more than a dozen different tourist routes, reveals the beauty of river valleys and gorges before you.

Aksu-Zhabagly was spread in the mountains of the Talass Alatau in the Western Tien Shan – this is the Tulkubas district of the South Kazakhstan region. The area of ​​the reserve is 131,934.3 hectares. And, as often happens in Kazakhstan, there is everything you could wish for: almost the whole national park is open for visitors, except for specially protected ecological zones.

It was named after two main rivers – Aksu and Zhabagyly. Aksu is a large river 120 kilometers long, splits into Malaya and Bolshaya, and this delta forms an incredibly beautiful Aksu canyon almost a kilometer wide. Once upon a time, primitive people lived in the canyon. They left behind themselves paleontological sites with entire galleries of ancient rock paintings. Definitely worth a visit are the grave of Shunkulduk bay, the stalactite caves of Kapterai, remainings of the medieval cities of Sharafkent and Isfijab, and also the ancient mounds near Zhabagly and the sacred spring Baybarak.

A separate 15 km long tourist route is dedicated to Aksu slopes – from Kyzhikan to the Tayaksalda gorge, which can be walked or driven by car, watching animals, birds, and rare plants – Celtis caucasica and Turkestan cornflower.

Who lives in the reserve?

Interesting to us are not only the Red Book bear, the snow leopard, the Turkestan lynx and the Indian porcupine. According to the latest data, 52 species of mammals, 11 species of reptiles and three species of amphibians are found in Aksu-Zhabagly. Another 1,737 plant species grow here, half of which are endemic, that is, they are not found anywhere else: trees, shrubs, grasses, algae, mosses, lichens, and mushrooms. But most of the  birds, 267 species of them – ular, stone partridge, Mistle thrush, paradise flycatcher and many others.

Some of them are not only very beautiful, but also rare: 11 species are listed in the Red Book – the legendary Blue whistling thrush, bearded vulture, golden eagle, short-toed snake eagle, Saker Falcon, peregrine falcon, vulture, Booted eagle. In addition, two more species of birds recognized by the IUCN (IUCN) as globally threatened are the corncrake and the white-winged woodpecker.

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