Gem of the area, Korgalzhyn State Natural Reserve – a specially protected territory, unique place on the Central Asia territory. Among endless dry steppe Teniz-Korgalzhyn lakes are situated.
Established in 1968, KSNR one of the biggest reserves in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The size of its territory is equal to 543171 hectares is represented by an integral site located at the crossroads of Central Asia and Indian and Siberian-East-African birds’ migration routes and is an internationally important water and wetland reserve.
Protected area represented by two large lakes these are Teniz and Korgalzhyn connected to each other and a huge steppe area. Teniz means in Kazakh “sea”. Depending on the year dryness the water surface area is 1130-1590 sq km, maximum depth may reach 7 meters, and water salinity exceeds World Ocean salinity in 5-6 times (from 22 up to 127 grams per liter). The lake consists of a deep-reach (The Tengiz) and a large bay in the north –eastern part (Small Teniz). There are about 70 small and big islands at the lake where the birds nest. It is the largest saline water reserve in the Central Asia.
Fresh water lake Korgalzhyn is completely opposite to Teniz. Vast water surface interfered with vast areas of reed. This is an integral water reserve consisting of several large bays divided by reed thickets which form in the result several lakes: Isey, Zhamankol, Sultankeldy, Kokay.
Good geographical location, vast area, places reach in food create favorable conditions for breeding, molting and growth of various birds. Vast water areas provide necessary accommodation for the largest in Asia waterfowl birds population.
Teniz –Korgalzhyn lakes were included in Ramsar List of international importance wetlands in 1976. The lakes of Korgalzhyn State Natural Reserve were included to international network of IBA key ornithological territories in 2007. The present territory included to the List of UNESCO World Natural Heritage in 2008.
Potential feed stocks of only one Lake Teniz are able to provide food for 15 million of birds. Here is the northernmost nesting population of flamingo whose number in certain years reaches 50.000-60.000 individuals. It is needed to emphasize Teniz Lake ingenuity. Both lake and its shore have never been impacted by humans. In 2000 Teniz Lake as the first and for a while unique in RK was included to international organization “Living Lakes” where the most unique lakes are included.
Reserve biodiversity is unique. It includes 374 representatives of flora plants from 60 families – a quarter of Kazakh hilly area flora and more than 1400 species of terrestrial and aquatic animals. Birds are represented by 346 species out of them nesting birds are 112 species that is equal to 87% of 130 known for allKazakhstan. Number of mammals in the reserve is equal to 43 species, ichtyofauna is represented by 14 species. Insects are not studied very well the total species number reaches 700 but diversity of species may reach 5000.
There are 60 species of the rare animals’ species and plants included to the Red List.
5 plants species are included to the Red List of Kazakhstan: Schrenk tulip, tulip drooping, Adonis (Adonis), backache yellowish, drooping backache. Schrenk tulip is important as the reserve fund breeding material. This plant stands out with its large size and a bright color of the flower. It is extremely varied in color from white and yellow to bright red and dark burgundy. This very flower is the ancestor of tulips bred in Netherlands in the XVI century.
41 species of avifauna included to the Red List of Kazakhstan and 27 species to IUCN lists. 5 species of mammals included to IUCN list: marmot, lazybones, steppe birch mouse, gray hamster, steppe pika.
In compliance with accounting data 10% of Dalmatian Pelican total world population reside in reserve lakes (IUCN) and up to 10-20% of one more species included to the Red list – white –headed duck. Such species as whooper swan, great black-headed gull, spoonbill, and ferruginous duck can be met. The northernmost nesting of flamingo is located on Teniz Lake.
Among the steppe avifauna representatives such species as sociable lapwing (RL IUCN, RL of RK), bustard (RL IUCN, RL of RK), little bustard (RL IUCN, RL of RK) and also eagle-dwarf (RL of RK), steppe eagle (RL of RK), white tailed eagle (RL of RK), pallid harrier (IUCN RL), lesser kestrel (RL IUCN) , demoiselle crane (RL of RK).