East Kazakhstan region


East Kazakhstan region is situated in the east part of Kazakhstan, on the border with Russia and China. In 1997 the territory of the former Semipalatinsk region was concluded in it. Administrative center is Ust'-Kamenogorsk. It was created on March 10, 1932. Total area is 283,3 000 sq. km. Population is 1416,4 000 (2008), from this 59 per cent are urban. The oblast concludes 15 regions (districts), 10 towns, 30 settlements, 870 localities.

Main river is the Ertis on which there are three hydropower plants – Buhtarmin, Shulbinsk and Ust-Kamenogorsk. Lakes: the Alakol, the Zaysan, the Markakol, the Sasykkol.

The East Kazakhstan region on concentration of natural resources can be compared with crumpled in small ball of paper. If you smooth this crumpled paper its size increases a lot. Natural history fanciful mixed here landscape zones and tall belts: in the west steppes with elements of desert and plains of Ertis zone border on the famous Saryarka (as a translation from Kazakh “yellow back”), where it was developed traditional culture of nomadic animal husbandry. In the east there is a mountain edge called the Altai (as a translation from mongol language it means «golden mountains»).


In the East Kazakhstan there are more than 1200 rivers. All the rural settlements in the East Kazakhstan say that only here one can understand what there a fishery is. Only here You can fish a huge pike in pools and cane channels of the Black Ertis and Lake Zaisan, or to fish grayling (Thymallus) and lenok (Brachymystax lenok) in mountain rivers and Lake Markakol. It will be probably we will catch with our fishing tackle taimen (a species of salmon) – main fish of the Altai and Siberia, an unique prize of each fisherman (it is true you have to let it go, for it in Kazakhstan permitted only sports fishing). You will be in places with desert severe landscapes, in reserve fishing places, where still there are pikes of ten kilogram and where pikeperch gets fat.

And in sand beaches in setting sun perchs chase fishes. The main river of the region, the Ertis originates from the Mongol Altai and inflows into the River Ob. Total strength of river artery: The Black Ertis – Zaisan – Buhtarmin water reservoir – Ertis – Ob make up more than 6000 km and a bit less than the Nil and Mississippi together with Missouri. The length of the river within the region makes up 1311 km, and length is 120–150 m. In its way the Ertis accepts numerous channels of rivers: Tainty, Buhtarm, Ubu, Kurchum, Narym, Karakabu, Ulbu, Kaindy and the others. In the South of the oblast the Bakanas, the Ayagoz, the Urzhar, Emel are important river arteries. They originate in the south slopes of ridges of the mountains Shingyz, West Tarbagatai and flow in direction of lakes Sasykkol, Alakol, Balkash. On the territory of the region there are 18 large lakes, very big of them are the Zaisan, the Markakol, the Alakol, the Sebinsk, the Ablaikit lakes. Mountain ridges: Listvyaga, Holzun, Ivanovsk, Ulbi and Ubin, they make up Kazakh part of vast mountainous country, unified by general name Altai. Through the very high summit of the Altai mountain Beluha, pass borders of Kazakhstan and Russia. The large part of its mountain ridges is covered by dense heavy forests, and peaks – with un-melt snow and ice. Mountain systems are separated by intermountain trough. The largest of them are the Zaisan and Alakol. In the west there are the mountain Tarbagatai covered with brushwood of apple trees and asp and birch. The west part of the region is occupied by Kazakh find sand. The south border of the region end with the Alakol kettle with closed lakes Balkash, Sasykkol, Alakol.

Fauna and flora of East Kazakhstan are surprising, multiform. About 90 per cent of forests of the republic are in the region. The considerable part of mountains is covered with taiga. Mainly coniferous trees – fir tree and fir (Abies) prevail. There are larch (Larix), cottonwood (Populus), birch, aspen, cedar; pine forest is found. Inmountainousforests, aspen forests there are a lot of mushrooms. Bushes stretch huge leaves – bush of bird cherry trees, mountain ash, honeysuckle, arrowwood, dog rose, raspberries, currants, elm, hawthorn, juniper. The West Kazakhstan is famous for its grasses. 


On the territory of East Kazakhstan there are 380 species of birds. From game kinds in mountain forests and alp meadows the followings are wide spread: wood grousewood grouse, snowcock, heath cock (Lyrurus tetrix), different types of ducks, gray (lag) goose (Anser anser), hazel hen (Tetrastes bonasia), willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus). Along mountain rivers and in Lake Markakol it can be found black stork (Ciconia nigra), fish hawk (Pandion haliaetus), and in mountain taiga forests common crossbill (Loxia), nutcrackers, jays, eagle-owl, it is found also entered into Red Book - vulture (Aegypius), griffon vulture and bearded vulture. Endemic of Altaic taiga: altai buzzard, ptarmigan.

In steppe zone of East Kazakhstan region there are about 90 species of birds including such as red boook animals, bustard, houbara bustard, little bustard (Otis tetrax), dikkop. Water swimming birds: white-tailed (sea) eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), bittern (Botaurus), (Ardeidae) heron and common heron (Ardea cinerea), gray (lag) goose (Anser anser), different ducks, great-crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus) and red-necked grebe (Podiceps griseigena), whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus), swan (Cygnus olor). In lakes and bogging different kinds of jacksnipe (Gallinago gallinago), crane (Grus grus), gulls live, and here remain migrant birds. In law lands and dry mountain areas in Tarbagatai, Ayagoz and Zaisan regions saker falcon (Falco cherrug) is found. But its population was very suffered during the falcon fever in 1990th.

In mountain taiga belt typical taiga mammals live: brown bear (Ursus arctos), elk, musk deer, Siberian chipmunk (Tamias sibiricus), white hare, lynx (Felis lynx), maral (Cervus elaphus), squirrel, skunk bear (Gulo), sable (Martes zibellina), ermine (Mustela), otter (Lutrinae), also here animals typical to mountain and flood-plain and steppe ecosystems: roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), fox, polecat, badger (Melinae), wolf and other. Typical endemic – (Talpa) mole, it is wide spread and found both in plain and mountains. For mountain steppes of the Altai it is typical sousliks (Citellus) and long-tailed sousliks, marmot (Marmota): Altay and mongol, or tarbagan. From small rodents there are a lot of vole. In stone fields in the outskirts of mountain steppes common mouse-hares, tree creeper (Certhia), Asian hamster (Phodopus), Siberian jerboa, tolai hare (Lepus tolai) not changing its colour in the winter month (there is a little snow in semi-desert landscapes). In the outskirts of Lake Zaisan rara Asian cat, and African wild cat (Felis ocreata), hairy-footed jerboa (Dipus sagitta), mouse-hare (Ochotona pusilla), hamster, root vole (Microtus oeconomus), common mole lemming (Ellobius). In valleys of all the steppe rivers common is musquash. In flood plain oftheErtis, around Lake Zaisan and in mountain Saur common wild boar. 

In Katonkaragai, Korshim and Markakol regions common (though there is a little) ibex (Capra ibex) – tek. Its number is going on decreasing slowly.

In East Kazakhstan region three sub-kinds of wild rams likely live or have lived recently. Some years ago in Korshikum and Katonkaragai regions here there was wild ram of Altai kind (Ovis ammon ammon). During the war a meat of wild ram here was prepared in industrial scale for sending to the war. But as a result of degradation of pasture and poaching, it can be said that kazakstan fauna has lost the wild ram of Altai kind. By the way, in international game (hunting) market it is very expensive kind of wild ram. 

In Saur very rara and very expensive saur kind of wild ram (Ovis ammon sairensis). Its number for the last five years owing to strict measures of protection significantly grew. In Tarbagatai and in separate fields of Kazakh find sandin the North-West of the oblast there is a still central asian kind of wild ram (Ovis ammon colium). Few years ago on the territory of the oblast – in Ayagoz ragion –came in large herd of saiga, but now it is fully destroyed. 

Today networkof closely guarded nature territories (CGNT): nature reserve and closed woods Markakol, West Altai, Kukuzhun, Alakol, Lower Turgusun. But on the strength of features of normal funding of the CGNT, nature in the closely guarded nature territories should be guarded in the first place from the very “guards”, i.e. of «gamekeepers».

Now in East Kazakhstan oblast you can hunt for wolves. Number of this beast of prey has increased everywhere. In spite of opinion of the west hunters of that hunting through transport is not sporting, most serious hunters in East Kazakhstan oblast practice on this kind of hunting, as this kind is extreme. Firstly, hunting by snowmobile is more sporting than that by automobile, and secondly, in Kazakhstan where threatening population of wolves will cause a damage to the hoofed mammals, it is need other ethic demands for hunting than in Europe where wolf has been entered in Red Book. 

Also we can recommend unusual hunting for heath cocks (Lyrurus tetrix) in the East Kazakhstan region. Nothing threatens while to this kind, its number is stable and even going on growing. Hunting for heath cocks (Lyrurustetrix) always is among the sporting and elite ones. It is strange that in Kazakhstan it is not very popular. 

On the territory of Katonkaragai and partly in Markakol region several kinds of snow leopard(Uncia uncia) have been found so far, on different expert appraisals 10 to 18. But exact number and areal of spread is not known. On the territory of Katonkaragai region the National Park has been organized, large part which together with Markakol nature reserve are being planed to be entered in a list of World Nature Heritage as territories representing not only national but global worldwide value.

Legal address of East Kazakhstan region Territorial Inspectorate of the Committee of Forestry and Game Management of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan:

070004, Oskemen city, 40 Tokhtarov str.

Tel/fax: +7 (7232) 262 565, +7(7232) 263 228