The fifth natural heritage site was included in the list of wetlands of international importance
02. 2024

Lake Zhyltyrbas in Karakalpakstan is included in the list of wetlands of international importance. This was subsequently announced by Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection, and Climate Change Aziz Abdukhakimov at the CMS COP14 press conference.

"The Ramsar Convention secretariat has handed us a certificate on the inclusion of the fifth natural site of Uzbekistan in the list of wetlands of international importance — Lake Zhyltyrbas in Karakalpakstan. This is a great event for all of us, considering that recently a fourth object was included in the list — the Sudochie Lake System, — shared A. Abdukhakimov. — This once again proves the intensive work and great attention paid by the government of Uzbekistan and the head of state to the field of ecology and protection of natural territories".

A. Abdukhakimov also noted that the Ministry of Ecology had been working on the inclusion of the fifth object in the Ramsar list for 1.5 years. The natural object itself has been studied for 15 years.

For information: Lake Zhyltyrbas is a former bay of the Aral Sea. After a sharp drop in sea level, it separated and was fed by the waters of a natural source — the Amu Darya River, which preserved the native fauna of the Southern Aral Sea. In recent years, additional irrigation canals have been dug, which only maintain the water level without affecting the change in fauna. The lake is one of the barriers to contain salt and dust storms from the dried-up bottom of the Aral Sea in the region.

In the Aral Sea region, Zhyltyrbas is of great importance during nesting and migration periods, both for rare birds at the international level and for the biological diversity of the deserts of Central Asia, including dense reeds and shrubs, salt marshes, swamps, canals, and deserts. In addition, the lake is a habitat for rare fish species endemic to the Aral Sea region.

It's worth noting that four sites in Uzbekistan were previously included in the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance. Lake Dengizkul (2001), the Arnasai Lake system (2008), the Tudakul and Kuimazar reservoirs (2020), and the Sudochie Lake system were included in the list last year. The total area of these territories is 674,400 hectares.

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