UNDP brought together representatives of specially protected natural areas of the Western Tian Shan in Sarychat-Ertash nature reserve for trainings on wildlife monitoring.
Heads, rangers, researchers, and rangers-volunteers of seven natural parks and reserves - Alatay, Kan-Achuu, Sary-Chelek, Padysh-Ata, Dashman, Besh-Aral, and Saimaluu-Tash – learned about the methodology for monitoring populations of wild mountain ungulates and snow leopard. During the two-day training, the participants learned about methods for assessing damage from natural and anthropogenic factors and the principles of organizing community patrols for anti-poaching measures. In practice, environmentalists conducted a census of wild ungulates, determined the age and sex composition of animals, and estimated their habitat. The study of these methods is critical in conserving biodiversity, since the observation of natural processes is the main form of collecting scientific data on the territory of specially protected natural areas.
Askar Davletbakov, head of the laboratory of zoology and vertebrates at the Institute of Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, told the training participants about the peculiarities of the method of counting snow leopards and other wild animals and asked them to describe the area in practice, count the number of argalis and record their observations by filling out a registration card.
The Sarychat-Ertash nature reserve was not chosen by chance to practice practical skills. The SPNA is renowned for its rich fauna, extensive experience in wildlife conservation, and mountainous terrain suitable for conducting field studies. Now snow leopards, bears, argali, and ibex live here. According to local rangers, the reserve is one of the few places in the country where "the Red Book species feel completely safe."
Representatives of the Sarychat-Ertash Reserve told their colleagues about their experience of cooperation with international environmental organizations, shared their achievements in counting and tracking snow leopards and their prey base using new information technologies.
Ernist Toktonazarov, Head of the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Areas of the SAEPF, emphasized the features of this yearlong cycle of training to boost employees' capacity of the protected areas and shared his thoughts on its results. "Today, one of the acute problems is associated with personnel's capacity in the area of nature protection. Therefore, such trainings are beneficial for increasing their potential. The second important point is the focus of the ongoing training program to strengthen scientific research. This direction is one of the main priorities in the list of tasks of the country's protected areas. At the end of this year, we plan to conduct certification of PA staff, and I think that these capacity building trainings will help employees on a range of key environmental topics," said Ernist Toktonazarov.
Mukhtar Musaev, director of the Sarychat-Ertash nature reserve, told the representatives of the Western Tian Shan protected areas about the achievements in the field of forest management, organization of the work of rangers, the main directions of biotechnical measures, the results of the registration of avifauna and vertebrates. The head of the protected area noted that with international environmental organizations' help, they are currently studying snow leopards, tracking their movement, and keeping records of their numbers using modern methods.
The Sarychat-Eertash Reserve's experience in the fight against poaching in recent years aroused great interest among the participants. Residents of the village of Ak-Shyirak spoke about the collective struggle against poachers, particularly about needlewomen who produce products from felt, sell them in the foreign market, and for their active nature conservation activities receive bonuses that are accumulated in the local development fund. The participants were also shown an eco-post equipped with round-the-clock video surveillance and a constant Internet connection. They were also able to see firsthand the local service dog's ability to search for derivatives of wild ungulates.
This training is conducted jointly with the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Areas of the SAEPF, CAMP Alatoo, and the Institute of Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic. It is a part of a series of training sessions dedicated to the development of protected areas. Capacity building trainings have been held since the beginning of this year and cover all critical areas of work of nature parks and reserves. For this, an educational module was developed, including issues of biodiversity conservation and environmental protection, monitoring and research activities, and management issues.
The trainings are organized in the framework of the UNDP-GEF project "Conservation of globally important biodiversity and associated land and forest resources of Western Tian Shan mountain ecosystems to support sustainable livelihoods." UNDP is currently implementing the project to preserve unique natural complexes and biodiversity, to promote the protection of rare and endangered species of fauna and flora. The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It is being implemented in partnership with the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry under the Kyrgyz Republic government. Read more about the project here.
About the Western Tian Shan
Western Tian Shan is a mountain system characterized by a high level of endemism and rich flora and fauna. The region is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is one of the 34 global Biodiversity Hotspots and is included in the world Ecoregion rating of Global 200, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The territory of the Western Tian Shan is inhabited by 27 species of animals on the verge of extinction, and 54 red book species of plants grow here.
National Communications Consultant/ UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic
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