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Filed under: Central Asia Environment

Kids on the Ustyurt plateau

Kids on the Ustyurt plateau

Summer is hot on the Ustyurt plateau - girl stands in the desert with a sign that says 50 degrees

Summer is hot on the Ustyurt plateau

Have you ever been to Karakalpakstan? to the Ustyurt plateau?

For most, the Ustyurt plateau is a remote steppe with a scarce amount of water and hard living conditions. Not many are aware that this area has an interesting history and unique wildlife, and that it was once home to great civilizations – the remnants of these disappeared civilizations can still be seen all over the Plateau today.

There are a plenty of stories on the internet about the Ustyurt arrows (in Russian). At first glance the arrows look like they were made by aliens. It is not surprising therefore, that there are some similarities between the Ustyurt arrows and the Nazca arrows. The Ustyurt plateau arrows were created by an ancient people and served as corrals for the saiga.

Ustyurt sanctuaries

Ustyurt sanctuaries

Ruins of the Beleuli fortress (caravanserai)

Ruins of the Beleuli fortress (caravanserai)

The Ustyurt plateau is also known for its unique flora and fauna. The Ustyurt plateau is the only place in the world where the Ustyurt urial can be seen. Four plant species and 33 animal species of the Ustyurt plateau are listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Uzbekistan and 40 are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List because they are close to becoming extinct. One such animals is the saiga antelope.

Buzzard babies

Buzzard babies

Steppe plants

Steppe plants

According to the State Committee for Nature Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan, in the past decade, the world population of Saiga antelope has decreased by more than 95 percent. It is alarming to think of the possible consequences as the saiga are a crucial part of the ecosystem. If the saiga disappear, there will be consequences for people too.

Horns of the Saiga antelope

Horns of the Saiga antelope

We know that if an ecosystem is destroyed, it negatively affects people, even those living far away. This is a reality of a globalized world. So it is our common obligation to protect the environment. We need to take more measures to living at peace with nature.

Chink of Ustyurt

Chink of Ustyurt

Steppe plants

Steppe plants