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Nests of white cranes are under protection

26 december 2019
New protected area was established on the territory of rare birds nesting in Sakha (Yakutia). WWF Russia worked on the creation of the national park together with the Republic authorities.

Government of the Russian Federation approved the creation of the Kytalyk national park with an area of ​​1,885,554 hectares in the Allaikhovsky district of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). WWF Russia has been working on the design of this area for several years, since most of the white cranes living on Earth nest on these pristine territories.

Siberian Crane, or White Crane (Yakut name for White Crane - “Kytalyk”) is in the IUCN Red List with status of an endangered species. The future of the species that breed only in the tundra zone in the north of Yakutia depends on the conservation of its East Siberian population, which has about 4 thousand birds. The created national park will guarantee the conservation of this nesting group.

"The place is inaccessible and the nature is untouched. The magnificent permafrost tundra, our famous permafrost plains. There is great potential for the development of eco-tourism, in particular birdwatching, - says Mikhail Stishov, project Coordinator for Arctic Biodiversity Conservation in WWF Russia. - Swamps, humps - very beautiful landscape. And many birds choose these places for nesting. First of all, white cranes, but also you can see pink gulls, gyrfalcons, white-billed loons and a number of protected species - more than 90 species of birds from all over the world. Wild reindeer lived here, but now their number has decreased. With the creation of the national park, there is hope that the population can recover. Previously, these territories did not have their own state, and the federal status will strengthen the protection and develop this territory as a national park”.

Part of these territories was placed under protection back in the 90s, but this was not enough. There was no economic activity, except the traditional nature management of the indigenous peoples of the North. Threre were no full-time inspectors and a higher conservation status was needed. Now the situation will change - the status of the national park will allow creating an effective ranger service and protecting nesting sites from economic development and disturbance.

“In recent years, hunters for mammoth bone have begun to penetrate the territory of Kytalyk,” adds Mikhail Stishov. “In search of prey, they walk on rivers with echo sounders, wash banks off with pumps. Such activity is a disturbance factor for birds and can lead to pollution of local rivers and lakes."

273 species of vascular plants grow on the territory of the national park, including rare ones - Rhodiola rosea, Belozor Kotzebue, Pennell’s pewter, shaggy bloat. There are 21 species of mammals and 91 species of birds were recorded on the territory of the national park. Here are nesting sites for white crane, white-billed loon, piscule, small swan, Baikal teal, gyrfalcon, peregrine falcon, and places of mass molting of waterfowl. In addition, you can meet wolf, arctic fox, wolverine, muskrat, wild reindeer, elk, sable, ermine, weasel, brown bear, as well as a musk ox red-listed in Yakutia.

In order to maintain the traditional lifestyle of the local population on the territory of the national park, an area of traditional extensive nature management will be allocated. At the same time, fishing areas for industrial fishing, formed on the territory of the Allaikhovsky district, are excluded from the borders of the designed national park “Kytalyk”.

WWF Russia expresses its sincere gratitude to the Government of Yakutia and personally to the Head of the Directorate of Bioresources and Protected Areas of Yakutia Yakov Sivtsev for their active participation and personal involvement in the project. WWF-Russia supported the creation of a national park within the project “Zapovednaya Arktika which is implemented which the support of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

The next step in the conservation of the unique nature of Kytalyk could be the assignment of UNESCO World Heritage status to this territory.

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