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Kinder® and WWF-Russia launch a project to conserve the goitered gazelle in Kazakhstan

24 december 2020
In the Balkhash district (the northern part of the "Kapshagai-Balkhash" ecological corridor and the "Ile-Balkhash" reserve) watering holes will be organized for these artiodactyl animals listed in the Red List of Kazakhstan. The project started in September this year.

Ferrero Kazakhstan LLP with Kinder® brand and the World Wildlife Fund told about a joint project to save the goitered gazelles in Kazakhstan.

Studies in the region revealed that the goitered gazelle population has dropped significantly over the past decade due to two main reasons: illegal hunting and lack of access to drinking fresh water.

Since Soviet times, wells used for livestock. However, they have not been functioning for the past 25 years, although they have water at a depth of 25-30 meters. Lack of water, the second most important factor after poaching, limits the successful growth of the goitered gazelle population in the Saryesik-Atyrau desert of Balkhash area.

According to the latest data, there are at least the 110 goitered gazelles in these places on almost 700,000 hectares. If favorable conditions are created - the cessation of poaching and the availability of accessible watering holes - tens of thousands of these animals can live in this territory.

Kinder® and WWF-Russia's project of conservation the goitered gazelles in Kazakhstan
(c) Ferrero Kazakhstan

In June 2020, on the basis of a study, 10 wells were identified, the operation of which will contribute to the maintenance and increase of the goitered gazelle population. Destroyed (cracked or fallen) watering holes should be repaired. In the hot season (April-October), it is planned to provide a regular detour on a specially designated "Ile-Balkhash" reserve motor transport with a pump (once a week) of each of the wells and a supply of water to the reservoir (where it is preserved) or directly to the wells. The average length of one trip is about 500 km. Monitoring of the population will be carried out with the help of installed camera traps in the places of organized watering places.

“The increase of the goitered gazelle population in this area is an integral part of the work of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the World Wildlife Fund to restore the ecosystem of the Ili River delta and the Southern Balkhash region as part of the tiger reintroduction program in Kazakhstan”, - Grigory Mazmaniants, director of WWF-Russia Central Asia Programme, says.

Regulation of the places where the goitered gazelles are concentrated by watering holes will provide additional safety for them by ensuring protection from the "Ile-Balkhash" reserve.

It's worth noting that the conservation and growth of the goitered gazelle population has a very positive effect on the state of the desert plant complexes: these light animals, breaking the moss cover with their sharp hooves, promote the germination of herbaceous plant seeds, which creates favorable living conditions for a whole complex of desert animal and plant species.

Irina Vorobieva, director of work with corporate partners and supporters of WWF-Russia: "We are pleased to cooperate with Ferrero: the company not only shares the values of the fund, but also strives to improve the environmental sustainability of its business. With the Kinder® brand, we already have joint projects in Russia - the conservation of sea otters and sea lions in the Pacific Ocean, the opening of an eco-trail in the Alania National Park. We are confident that the implementation of the project for the conservation of the goitered gazelles in Kazakhstan will be another important step in the development of our partnership".

Reference. The goitered gazelles are one of a variety of their species found in the Arabian Peninsula throughout the Middle East and Asia, including Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. They are classified as vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. These gazelles usually occupy arid desert and desert-steppe habitats and are found in mixed sex groups. The goitered gazelle moves seasonally (it roams, but doesn't migrate) and can cover up to 30 km per day in winter; in summer the distance is much shorter. The main requirements of the habitat are the availability of water and fine snow cover in winter. 

For additional information please contact
Director of the Central Asian Program Office of WWF-Russia