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What do we know about the AKSU-ZHABAGLY Nature Reserve
Aksu-Zhabagly is the oldest and most famous nature reserve in Central Asia. It was created in 1926, its area has been increasing all the time, and now it is 132.6 thousand hectares. It is located on the Talas Alatau, Ugam and Maidantal ridges, in the western part of the Tien Shan. The name of the reserve is formed from the names of its two largest rivers – Aksu and Zhabagly, in the interfluve of which it was originally created. The reserve carefully preserves all the diversity of objects of living and inanimate nature. At the same time, only such catastrophic phenomena as fires involve human intervention.. Thanks to this, scientists have a unique laboratory for the study of nature in its natural state, and visitors to the reserve have the opportunity to observe and appreciate the pristine beauty and diversity of the landscapes of the Western Tien Shan
Various and interesting excursions are often conducted on the territory of the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve. The reserve is not closed during the winter and autumn seasons.
The most original and components of the “face” of the reserve are landscapes, including juniper forests (the local name is juniper forests). These forests, or rather, sparse woodlands, are formed by two types of juniper (juniper). The hemispherical juniper (Juniperus semigloboza) and the Zeravshan juniper (J. seravschanica) have a height of 6-7 (sometimes up to 12) m. The oldest specimens reach three meters in girth. The third type of juniper – Turkestan juniper (J. turkestanica) – has a plantain shape within the reserve, its “cakes” can be observed on the slopes in the subalpine belt. Visitors to the reserve are captivated by the possibility of a wide overview of magnificent landscapes that simultaneously open to the eye in any part of the protected area: flowery meadows among juniper trees, deep and spacious river valleys, rocky ridges and snowy peaks, an abundance of the purest water. This water is possible (and necessary!) drink directly from noisy streams, because it is here that they are born from springs and melting snowfields. The grand canyon is unique
The height range in Aksu-Zhabagly is from 1300 to 4242 m. The diversity of the natural conditions of the reserve corresponds to the richness of its flora and fauna. There are 1,312 flowering plants registered in the reserve, many of which can be guaranteed to be seen only here. 39 of these plants are listed in the Red Book of Kazakhstan, but they are common in the reserve. There are a lot of amazing plants in the reserve, but the most famous of them are Greig’s tulips (Tulipa greigii) and Berkarinsky (T. berkariensis). They became the ancestors of 75% of the world’s wealth of tulip varieties.
The fauna of the reserve has 267 species of birds, of which 130 species have been recorded nesting. 30 species are listed in the Red Book of Kazakhstan. Among them – golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetus) – a symbol of Kazakhstan statehood, magnificent predators – bearded (Gypaetus barbatus), steppe eagle (Aquila rapax), vulture (Neophron percnopterus), saker falcon (Falco cherrug), beautiful – black (Ciconia nigra) and white (C. ciconia) storks, crane -Belladonna (Anthropoidesvirgo), owl (Bubo bubo) and bluebird (Myophonus coereleus). Very interesting are such rare species as the paradise flycatcher Terpsiphone paradise, Himalayan ular (Tetraogallus himalayensis), white-winged woodpecker (Dendrocoposleucopterus), white-throated nightingale (Irania gutturalis), red-necked tit (Parus rufonuchalis), yellow-breasted azure (Parus flavipectus) and others.
There is a huge variety of insects in Aksu-Zhabagly. Scientists have identified 2,124 species, but predict to find up to 6,000 species. 25 of the insect species noted in the reserve in Kazakhstan are rare and are on the lists
of the Kazakh Red Book. Among them are swallowtail butterflies (Papillio machaon) and apollo (Parnassius apollo), beauty beetles (Calosoma sycophanta) and point ladybug (Stethorus punctillum), Bolivaria mantis (Bolivaria brachiptera) and others.