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  Home  »  Kyrgyzstan  »  Nature  »   Fauna

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The wolf has a bad reputation throughout the world. Perhaps part of this in modern times is due to the prevelance of Werewolf stories and films. There are a number of species of wolves found throughout the Republic, and their reputation is no better here than elsewhere especially as they seen as a distinct threat to livestock. In just one year, it is claimed that wolves in the Naryn province alone were responsible for killing almost 16000 animals, (4000 horses, 4000 cows and 8000 sheep and goats) with a value of 70,400.000 soms (about 1.75 million US dollars), whereas in the same period thieves were responsible for stealing just 342 worth 1.4 millions soms (about 33,000 US dollars). A bounty is paid to hunters for killing wolves and there is a planned program for culling the animals. Even domestic dogs have fallen prey to eager hunters.

There is a large wolf dwelling in the western part of Kyrgyzstan, which grows to 40-50kg in weight, one and a half-meters in length and a height of eighty centimetres.

A smaller desert wolf is found in the plains.

Wolves prefer open spaces, copses, precipices, hills, and ravines. They live in packs which can be quite large, although individual pairs can be encountered. It is estimated that are about 4-5000 wolves in Kyrgyzstan some have even been observed close to Bishkek.
They have strong family ties and couples form life-long pairings. A litter is usually born in April/May and can number 5-6 cubs that stay with the parents until they reach adulthood. They can make their lairs in a variety of places caves, under tree roots, even taking over burrows of other animals. Every family has its own hunting area, with marked boundaries.

Unlike wolves of the Plains, which wander over a large geographical area, Mountain wolves are attached to a place, roaming over a comparatively small area - following wild and domestic animals.

In the wild, it feeds on a large quantity of birds, small animals, (marmot, hare, field-voles, mice, and hamsters).
The novel The place of the Skull by Chinghiz Aitmatov has as one of its intertwined storylines the fate of one family of wolves which migrates from the plains of Kazakhstan to the mountains around Lake Issyk Kul. One of the novels heros exhibits an unusual empathy towards the family and their struggle to survive.

Fish provide an important source of iodine otherwise lacking in the Kyrgyz diet and is a popular form of food.Today, there are some 54 species found in Kyrgyzstan 38 of them indigenous and 16 introduced. The greatest diversity is found in Issyk Kul and the larger rivers depending on the waterflow ...

Joost van der Ven, in his book Looking at Birds in the Kyrgyz Republic devotes a special chapter to cranes and the migratory routes that bring three different species to Kyrgyzstan. These long legged, long necked, migratory birds with powerful wings, live either in marshlands on the steppes where ...

There are several different types of birds of prey (eagles, vultures, hawks, Bustards and so forth) found in the Kyrgyz Republic the largest is the Golden Eagle - Berkut.The wings of a young Golden Eagle tend to be light coloured with a dark line along the edge an older eagle will have a white tail ...

Yaks are large animals, they can reach two metres in height, a relative of cattle. As long ago as 3000 years ago, they were first tamed by man. Domestic yaks tend to be smaller and quieter than wild ones. They dont need special care and they are able to survive on scanty mountain vegetation. As well ...

Marco Polo sheep
Marco Polo's Sheep (Ovis ammon polii) are a variety of Argali. They are also known as Great Tibetan Sheep, Pamir Argali, and Great Pamir Sheep. They are mainly known for their characteristicly large swirling horns.Some scholars have doubted the accuracy of Marco Polos accounts of his journey to Cathay ...

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard
Tigers and cheetahs once roamed through the forests of Kyrgyzstan but the Snow Leopard is the only example of the Big Cats still to be found in Kyrgyzstan. They are extremely athletic capable of making huge leaps over ravines and can bring down prey almost three times their own size. They ...

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