Kazakhstan taking steps to protect Snow leopards

The snow leopard is one of Kazakhstan’s rarest animals and a national symbol. Populations are scattered, stretching from high, rugged mountain range habitats in the east (administrative regions of East Kazakhstan and Almaty) to the south (administrative regions of Zhambyl and South Kazakhstan), complicating getting an accurate population count. Estimates place the number of snow…

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Kazakhstan: an overview

Kazakhstan ranks as the largest nation in Central Asia and the world’s largest landlocked country. It share borders with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and the Caspian Sea. A land of deserts and plateaus stretching across the rolling tablelands of the Eurasian landmass, approximately 20 percent of Kazakhstan is mountainous, dotted by the Tien Shan,…

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Steppe eagles

Steppe eaglets on a nest

Long-term study sheds light on Steppe eagle migration It’s a rough, but mostly routine, journey for Steppe eagles (Aquila nipalensis) migrating to their winter abodes, according to results of a four-year study.  In May 2022 Russia-based ornithologists announced the results of a conservation project launched in 2018 that centered on the Steppe eagle and focused…

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Chuisky Tract – Altai’s Path of Ancestors

part of Old Chuisky Tract

Every visitor to Altai Republic travels this storied road, a piece of the region’s cultural heritage. Largely a 2-lane highway, Chuisky Tract stretches 963 km (598 miles) from Novosibirsk to Russia’s border with Mongolia, snaking across Altai Krai and Altai Republic and on into Mongolia. In 2019 the Russian edition of “National Geographic Traveler” included…

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Altai’s Indigenous peoples – what’s in a name?

Chaga-Bayram Altaian winter new year ceremony (Photo by M. Erlenbaeva)

Russia officially recognizes 47 small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia, and Far East. Roughly 23% of the almost 147 million people living in Russia (as of 2021) are not ethnically Russian.  The government classifies Indigenous peoples living in the country in three ways: “Small-numbered peoples” (less than 50,000 individuals), “Indigenous peoples” living in the North,…

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