The wildlife of Central Asia is diverse and unique. Its representatives have adapted to different climatic conditions - from the hot summer of the deserts to severe winters of the mountains. Central Asia occupying more than 2.5 million km2 inhabits about 800 species of vertebrates, more than half of which are birds nesting mainly in deltas of rivers and along the shores of lakes. In the reservoirs of Central Asia there are more than 100 different fish species and 9 amphibians. In deserts and desert territories there are many reptiles numbering 79 species. Mammals in Central Asia are represented by 153 species, distributed from hot deserts to the glaciers of the Pamirs and Tien Shan. Invertebrates in the fauna of Central Asia are represented by the richest variety of insects: arthropods, arachnids, butterflies and others.
Such a diversity of species of the animal world at first glance pleases. But if you analyze the changes in the wildlife that have occurred over the past half century the resulting picture will not cause much optimism. In connection with the active human activity in the development of mountains, deserts and river valleys, such species as the Turanian tiger, the Maral, the Red wolf disappeared from the face of Central Asia. On the verge of extinction are, and perhaps have already disappeared, the Persian leopard, the Bustard, the Striped hyena, the Screwhorn goat - the Marchur. Some of them are killed because of the beautiful fur, others because of branched horns, supposedly beneficial to health. They are killed as pests when they search for food come to a person's home. Some of these animals lose their habitual location due to people's economic activities. Even the golden eagle, a bird that has become a symbol of almost all Central Asian countries, has fallen into the Red Book. It's hard to believe - from the mid-80's the golden eagle is in the category "Rare Bird with a decreasing number".
In our scientific and technical age, the problem of wildlife conservation is especially important. The person now has powerful levers of influence on a living nature. On the one hand, an uncontrolled increase in industrial production negatively affects all natural components; on the other hand, a scientific approach to the conservation of nature can save the situation if it is implemented at the proper level.
To preserve the flora and fauna in the territory of Central Asia protected areas have been created: nature reserves, national parks, specialized nurseries. Regional "Red Books" have been established in the republics of Central Asia. Legislative protection of rare species of animals and plants is covered by the Red Book that has become a kind of alarm signal about the danger that threatens this or that species. Various legislative acts have also been adopted - "Laws on Nature Protection". But still the most important in the conservation of natural components is a single person. Each of us is able to carefully and thoughtfully treat the living nature, teach our children with love and trepidation to treat every small representative of flora and fauna. Protection and restoration of rare and endangered species should always be considered as one of the most important problems.
The richness of the species composition of the fauna of Central Asia is primarily due to the geographic location of the region. Here species of animals from the North, India and Africa, have penetrated. Natural, climatic conditions, diversity of relief also influenced the diversity of the wildlife world. Each specific region has certain, often unique representatives of fauna.
In the mountains there are animals typical to northern regions, for example, a bear and an ermine. Although there are also well-adapted species: Snow leopard, Siberian mountain goat, Mountain sheep, Mensbir marmot, Turkestan gecko, Rocky nuthatch. In sandy and clay deserts, you can meet people from tropical countries - a Gray lizard (got here from Africa), Jackal, Hyena, Lane, Longtail flytrap from India.
The most unusual cat of wild steppes with a broad but fragmented distribution in the grasslands and mountain steppes of Central Asia. It is negatively affected by habitat degradation, prey base decline, and hunting, and has therefore been classified as Near Threatened by IUCN since 2002. Pallas's cats are native to the steppe regions of Central Asia, where they inhabit elevations of up to 5,050 m in the Tibetan Plateau. They also inhabit some parts of Afghanistan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan, and occur across much of western China. The exact number of Manuls is not defined, but one thing is clear: it is on the verge of extinction.
The saiga antelope is a critically endangered antelope that originally inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe zone from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and Caucasus into Dzungaria and Mongolia. The saiga antelope is a major player in one of the most spectacular animal migrations. It faces an uncertain future due to hunting and loss of habitat. A distinctive bulbous nose makes the saiga an unlikely pin-up for the conservation movement. Habitat loss and illegal hunting have dramatically cut population numbers. The fall in saiga antelope populations has been dramatic. In the early 1990s numbers were over a million, but are now estimated to be around 50,000. Kazakhstan in November 2010 reaffirmed a ban on hunting saiga antelopes, and extended this ban until 2021, as the Central Asian nation seeks to save the endangered species. Saiga antelope has long, thin legs but is similar in size to a sheep. Saiga has a flexible and inflatable nose that helps to breathe clean air during dusty summers and warm air during cold winters
Known throughout the world for its beautiful fur and elusive behavior, the endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia.
Snow leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats have created an uncertain future for the cats.
Snow leopards are nomadic, and constantly move around their home ranges to hunt and leaving markings that prevent other cats from moving in. These cats often travel along ridge lines and cliff bases, and choose bedding sites with good views over the surrounding terrain. Exact numbers are unknown, but there may be as few as 3,000 and probably no more than 6,000 snow leopards left in the wild.
The Turkestan lynx is a subspecies of Eurasian lynx native to Central Asia. It is also known as Central Asian lynx, Tibetan lynx or Himalayan lynx. It is widespread from west in Central Asia, from South Asia to China and Mongolia. The Turkestan lynx is one of the most widespread subspecies of Eurasian lynx. In Central Asia, the Turkestan lynx live mostly in open woodlands and steppe, and are also found throughout the rocky hills and mountains of the Central Asian desert regions. In southern Asia, it occurs throughout the northern slopes of the Himalayas, and has been reported both from thick scrub woodland and barren, rocky areas above the tree line.
Central Asian Red Deer (Maral)
Central Asian Red Deer (or Maral) is one of the largest deer species. Central Asian red deer is a primordial group of Elk subspecies, which is found at the southern and eastern rim of the Tibetan plateau. Sometimes it is treated as a distinct species (Cervus wallichii).
The Central Asian deer have been included traditionally in the red deer species. Recent DNA studies conducted on hundreds samples from red deer and elk subspecies determined that red deer and elk (wapiti) represent two distinct species. The Central Asian red deer falls clearly into the elk clade, but forms a distinct group, which is sometimes suggested to be treated as a third species of elaphine deer.
The markhor is an endangered species of wild goat that is natively found in the mountainous regions of western and central and Asia. The Markhoris the largest of the goat family and is found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia, from Southern Russia to the sparse woodland of the West Himalayas. Markhor are well adapted to mountainous terrain, and can be found between 600-3,600 meters in elevation. They typically inhabit scrub forests made up primarily of oaks , pines, and junipers where there is plenty for the markhor to eat. Markhor are also diurnal animals, meaning that they are mainly active in the early morning and late afternoon, they spend summer at higher altitudes and winter at lower altitudes. Male and female markhors are similar in appearance with a tan colored coat with white underparts and a black and white pattern on their legs (males are a lighter tan color). They have long, shaggy, white fur on their necks and chest which can grow quite long, and a black colored face. The markhor is a herbivorous animal that primarily grazes on a variety of vegetation including grasses, leaves, herbs, fruits and flowers. Like other wild goats, the markhor play a valuable role within their eco-system as they munch the leaves from the low-lying trees and scrub, spreading the seeds in their dung.
Despite living almost on a cliff-edge, there are actually a number of animals that prey on these incredibly majestic creatures. Packs of wolves and wild cats such as lynxes snow leopards are the main predators of the markhor, along with humans who have deforested much of their natural habitat.