Efficient yak herding in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan

What we are doing
Implementation Period
  • Implementation Period: 2019 - 2020
  • Donor organization: “Союзом охраны природы Германии” (NABU)
  • Geographical location: Нарынский и Кочкорский районы, Нарынская область.
The tasks carried out by the specialists of CAMP Alatoo PF during the project were to digitalise maps and develop pasture management plans for the three aiyl aimags of the Naryn district, Min-Bulak, On-Archa, and Kara-Kuzhur, and to train locals to mitigate conflicts that arise between yak herders and those who do not breed cattle.

Project Background

As part of the project's operational plan, interviews were conducted with local resource users. Suggestions voiced by residents during the survey were included in a package of recommendations aimed at resolving conflicts between yak herders and shepherds and developing a pasture management plan.

Project Objectives & Goals

The goal is to preserve the biological diversity of mountain pastures in the Kara-Kuzhur and Solton-Sary valleys located in the Naryn and Kochkor districts of the Naryn region. The largest number of yaks is concentrated in these areas.

Project Result

Building the capacity of pasture users in conflict management leads to an understanding of the causes of disagreements and their mitigation. Therefore, three workshops on this topic organised for local communities in the ayil aimags of Min-Bulak, On-Archa and Kara-Kuzhur had a positive impact on people and raised their awareness on resource conflict management.

A pasture management plan was also developed at the Ters-Suu River basin level with wildlife conservation in mind.

The following work was done to develop the pasture management plan:

  •     The number of livestock was clarified: out of 20,452 animals, 6,517 were yaks
  •     180 shepherds' camps were identified and mapped
  •     Digitised maps with specification of pasture boundaries in Min-Bulak, On-Archa, Kara-Kuzhur, Emgekchil, Emgek-Talaa, Kazan-Kuigan aiyl aimags located in the Solton-Sary valley
  •     The load due to livestock grazing on 58 grazing plots in the Solton Sary valley was determined in accordance with the norm of one conditional head per hectare
  •     analyzed and compiled lists of the number of cattle belonging to the residents of Min-Bulak, On-Archa, Kara-Kuzhur, Emgekchil, Emgek-Talaa and Kazan-Kuigan aiyl aimags
  •     Possible habitats and population levels of 18 wildlife species were identified in the Solton-Sary valley
  •     6 workshops on the development of a pasture management plan were held with the participation of about 100 representatives of pasture committees and resource users

The collected data was included in the pasture management plan at the Ters-Suu basin level, taking into account wildlife conservation.

In autumn 2020, CAMP Alatoo PF specialists assessed the economic efficiency of livestock production and attitudes towards wildlife conservation among the population of the project area. Thirty-five respondents from the local population, pasture committees and local authorities were interviewed. During the interviews, they were asked to answer more than 25 questions about the state of pastures, causes of land degradation, livestock regulation, wildlife protection measures, etc.

According to the results of the survey, more than 90% of the respondents said that the number of livestock in local households increases every year. This trend was attributed by 37% of respondents to personal needs and another 37% indicated that the increase in livestock is for income generation purposes. About 50% of respondents identified overgrazing as the main reason for the degradation of local pastures and 43% said that pastures are deteriorating. Only 2% of users expressed confidence that the condition of pastures is improving each year because livestock are sold and slaughtered quickly and the number of animals does not negatively affect the land.