© WWF Russia / Olga Pereladova
© WWF Russia / Tatyna Bragina

About the project

The first project started in the region in July 1998: Establishment of a Network of Protected Areas for Waterfowl and other Wetland Birds in the Forest-Steppe of Northern Kazakhstan. It was supported by WWF Sweden, and since 2000 - by WWF Finland as well.

The project included:

  • Finalising the analysis of the existing data on the main areas of waterfowl concentration in Northern Kazakhstan;
  • Inventory of key wetlands, analysis of the recent ecological and economical situation around these areas;
  • Identification of the necessary conservation measures in each area;
  • Preparation of the necessary documents for establishment of protected areas and approval by all relevant authorities;
  • Implementation of the proposals and practical creation of a network of protected areas of different categories;
  • Development of the ecotourism program for the region: choice of preferable sites, staff training, infrastructure support, international promotion.

The major practical nature conservation results of the projects are:

  • One of the greatest lakes of Kustanai region - lake Sary-Kopa - is now a sanctuary, and has passed under the responsibility of Naurzum Zapovednik;
  • 103 thousands ha of wetlands and surrounding steppe ecosystems are added to the Naurzum Zapovednik;
  • the area of specially protected territories increased by more than 80 000 ha of lake surface, 256 400 ha of surrounding wetlands.

The main data of the key wetlands monitoring are presented in the book (in Russian), which includes:

  • joint characteristics of the biodiversity of the region;
  • hydro-chemical and hydro-biological characteristics of the water bodies of the region;
  • characteristics of 16 most important lakes;
  • conservation needs.

The English version of the book «Wetlands of northern Kazakhstan» is in final preparation and will be soon published with the help of the crane restoration GEF–ICF project.

Results of the project were discussed and very highly appreciated by all participants of the international workshop in October 2002 .

Documents were prepared for nominating Naurzum area as the first natural World heritage site in Central Asia.

In 2005 WWF-Sweden recommenced funding the project which allows to prepare initial documents for the establishment of a biosphere reserve, which would include the existing zapovednik, sanctuaries and surrounding territories.