Baiboosun micro-reserve, Ton district, Issyk-Kul province
An area of 14 thousand hectares located in the Baiboosun Gorge, Ton district, Issyk-Kul region, was granted the status of a "public micro-reserve" in 2018 in order to preserve biodiversity, ecosystems, the gene pool of grazing vegetation seeds, the institutional development of hunting organizations, and to improve the aesthetic attractiveness of landscapes. The initiative was implemented as part of the project "Biodiversity Conservation through the Introduction of Effective Integrated Pasture Management Mechanisms" with the financial support of Sigrid Rausing Trust.
Members of an expedition to the micro-reserve from the National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyzstan, confirmed the presence of snow leopards and 17 other species of mammals, which are included in the Red Book of Kyrgyzstan. Among them are Pallas' cat, marten, Turkestan lynx, fox, ibex, marmots, as well as 60 species of birds (of which 6 species are included in the Red Book of Kyrgyzstan and the list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature), and 500 species of plants. On the basis of the data obtained, the expedition participants presented a rationale and recommendations for the establishment of a micro-reserve. In their opinion, the territory of "Baiboosun" has a high level of diversity of flora and fauna, typical for the central part of the Teskey Ala-Too Range. Given that there are no specially protected areas near the protected area, "Baiboosun" plays a positive role in the protection of flora and fauna.
The "community micro-reserve" model provides for the responsibility of the local community for the conservation and protection of the reserve and pastures. Order and the fight against offenders is ensured by a ranger service made up of local residents who are former members of the hunting and fishing community. Photographic traps, GPS navigators, walkie-talkies, spyglasses and field uniforms have been issued to the rangers for the protection of the protected area. Using the equipment provided, members of the association conduct regular raids and various conservational activities in Baiboosun.
The public rangers have created a public fund, Baiboosun zharatylysh korugu, which participates in the production and marketing chain outside the micro-reserve. This system, which also involves shepherds and owners of guest houses, provides the villagers with financial stability through the production of cheese, kurut, sea buckthorn, and barberry, which are packaged and sold under the Baiboosun brand to guest houses and tourists.
There are 3 observation shelters (small roofed structures for observing wild animals and birds) set up within the protected area. They are intended for tourists who are keen on wildlife photography and birdwatching.
We developed the mobile app "Tabiyat kenchi", which can be used to monitor and collect data on the biodiversity of Kyrgyzstan, including in the Baiboosun micro-reserve.
Click here to see a video of snow leopard cubs made by one of our camera traps in November 2021: