NUR-SULTAN – The Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK) launched the SOS Goitered Gazelle project to preserve endangered goitered gazelles in the country’s south.
Goitered gazelles are the only type of gazelles living in Kazakhstan, primarily in the country’s desert regions.
The population of goitered gazelles has decreased by nearly 90 percent over the past decades. Nearly 200,000 of the creatures used to live in Kazakhstan but their numbers have fallen to between 13,000 and 15,000, mostly due to poaching and habitat loss. They are listed in the country’s Red Book of endangered species.
For the first time, the project will include a comprehensive assessment of gazelle’s population using different methodologies, coupled with fieldwork, tracking of goitered gazelles through satellite tags and local community engagement.
Experts will also study the impact of border fences between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on their migration, as it is known to prevent their free movement.
“Central Asia may be considered synonymous with vast open landscapes by many because it holds some of the world’s largest intact grasslands and semi-deserts, but it also harbors some of the largest and highest mountain ranges. Due to the sparse vegetation and water sources, many of the resident animal species have adapted to a migratory lifestyle, crossing large distances to find fertile feeding and breeding grounds,” said the IUCN website.
The project is implemented with the International Union for Conservation of Nature as part of the Save Our Species project and will last through the fall of 2021. Launched in 2019, IUCN’s Save Our Species project supports the Central Asian Mammals Initiative (CAMI) created by the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).