Kulujun Nature Reserve
Nature reserves of Kazakhstan. The Biggest reserves in Kazakhstan
It is located 180 km from Ust-Kamenogorsk, a 3.5 hour journey.
We are driving on good asphalted roads at a comfortable speed up to 70 km/h. The road runs through picturesque spurs of the Kalbinskiy mountain range, through the routes of the Dzhungar tribes' camps, and through the territory where ancient Kazakh belligerent tribes of Argyn and Najman lived, allowing us to observe steppe and dense pine forests.
The Southern mountainside of Kalba is covered sporadically with bushwood. One can notice here the massifs of almond trees (Amygdalus ledebouriana) - an endemic species of the south-western Altai and Tarbogatay Mountains. A rare species of orchids - orchis cassideous (Orchis militaris L.) is found in the moist and waterlogged meadows.
Next, Samarskoe village, in the north-western part of Zaisan hollow, appears. It is at the northern end of the Asian deserts, inhabited by untouched fauna and flora. On the bank of the Bukhtarma reservoir and in the Kuludzhun River valley, the Kuludzhun nature reserve is located. It was created to protect roedeer winter pasture and to preserve the unique character of the landscape. It is a typical sandy desert. - Over the plains tower huge sand dunes, overgrown on the northern sides by desert plants: calligonum and juniper. The remains of the Khatun-Karagay pine forests, which vanished at the end of the IX century, still can be found on the sand-dunes.
The flora of the Kyzylkum desert includes about 200 species of vascular plants. Many among them, including the locoweed white-pannose, are included in the Kazakhstan Red Book. Vegetation of the nature reserve is distinguished by its great diversity.
About 20 species of animals, over 80 species of birds, 5 species of reptiles and 2 species of amphibia are found here. Desert species prevail: the big-eared hedgehog, corsac, jerboas: rough-legged, dzhungar salpingotus, and Eversman hamster.
The birds in the nature reserve can be divided into two groups according to their * type. Larks, achromatic grouse, and quail live in sandy regions. Rare: gray crane, belladonna, bustard, little bustard, jack, dwarf eagle, and raptor. Common: black-foreheaded shrike, white-throat.
In the swampy floodplains of the Kuludzhun the following birds build their nests - bittern, big egret, grey ardea, grey goose, wild duck, grey duck, etc. Among reptiles here, the Zaisan round-headed lizard and agile lizard can be found.
Several species living in the nature reserve are included in the Kazakhstan Red Book: Dzhungar salpingotus, bustard, little bustard, and jack. This nature reserve is of great importance for roe-deer protection. The concentration of roe-deer in winter here amounts to almost 300 head.