Central Asia
Ibexes on th territory of hunting area 'Chakir-Corum-Trophy' in Kyrgyzstan. Spruce forest near the Issik-Kul Lake. Leskhoz Jety-Oguz.
Biodiversity conservation through sustainable use of wildlife

Partners: State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic

Project start: 2010

Due to its specific geological and environmental conditions, Kyrgyzstan has a wide variety of land cover and wildlife. The most well-known rare animal species listed in the Red Book are Desert Monitor, Snow leopard, Central Asian Otter, Tien-Shan Bear  and Argali. A network of strictly protected nature reserves (SPNRs) intends to protect these species, but covers only 6% of the country. The majority of wild animals live outside SPNRs. Among them are particularly vulnerable hoofed mammals that have been hunted since ancient times. Wildlife protection in remote high mountains is provided by private hunting concessions that seek to use available natural resources in a sustainable manner, enabling conditions for their reproduction. At the same time they also contribute to the country's budget from trophy hunting revenue. But there are areas adjacent to settlements, where wildlife resources are subject to uncontrolled use, since they are open for access by all.

The Department of Natural Resource Management of the State Agency on Environmental Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic with the support of our programme implements reforms in the hunting sector to improve wildlife management. In accordance with a new wildlife management and conservation policy and a law on "Hunting and hunting entities" adopted in March 2014, the responsibility for the preservation of the number of mountain Ungulates is transferred to the private sector and hunters’ associations on the local level. The responsibilities of public authorities are to control and regulate.

A new legal framework enables local communities to take control of and manage wildlife resources within "their" territory. Through carrying out regular activities for the protection and monitoring of wild animals and carefully planning its activities, the organization of local hunters can attain an increase in the number of game species, which allows them to organize legal hunting tours for tourists. Interest of local communities in the stable income of the hunting business will reduce poaching by local residents, guarantee the protection of animals and increase their numbers. The principle of nature conservation through sustainable use is a global concept, adopted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Wildlife Fund and the United Nations Environment Programme. It is of fundamental importance for the overall development of nations and the preservation of natural heritage. For this reason we support the sectoral state agencies in the development and improvement of the legal framework and work with pilot communities to demonstrate the advantages of the principle "conservation through use".

We promote the improvement of scientific knowledge and monitoring, which is the basis for the sustainable management of mountain Ungulates; improvement of international cooperation in the framework of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)  and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.

A new approach was recently entrenched in Central Asia, yet there is still a lack of understanding from local experts and the population of Kyrgyzstan that conservation and use are not mutually exclusive activities, but rather mutually reinforcing. On the contrary, in Tajikistan this approach has been used for several years and is one of the most successful in the region.

In all fields of our activity in the regional programme we facilitate efforts of our partners to adapt new and existing action plans to climate change in Kyrgyzstan. We elaborate and disseminate local approaches with focus on Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA). For example, in multi-stakeholder processes vulnerability assessments are conducted and measures for adaptation to climate change are identified and integrated into nature resources management in the country. 

We further support capacity development with regard to strengthening of policy and decision-makers at national level and advise other projects on climate change issues, acting as a regional „climate competence center“. 

Participants of the exchange visit from Kyrgyzstan conduct joint monitoring of wild animals on Tajik Pamirs

Picture: Participants of the exchange visit from Kyrgyzstan conduct joint monitoring of wild animals on Tajik Pamirs in December 2013.

Wildlife monitoring demonstrates growth in the population. This highlights the effectiveness of the community-based approach to wildlife management.