Some details about the flora and fauna of Kyrgyzstan

The flora of Kyrgyzstan is various and luxurious due to the many different forms of landscape, the range of altitudes, the alternation of mountain ridges and hollows formed between them, and the local isolation this introduces. Kyrgyzstan is the place where you can encounter species of many various types of vegetation: Central-Asian, India and Himalayan, Northern Asian, and, naturally of course from the Tien-Shan and Alai. In low-lying valleys and on low foothills absinth steppes prevail. In middle altitude mountain zones there are widely spread steppes, meadows, forests, and shrubs. In the high mountain zones are alpine meadows, kriofill-cushion and mountain tundra. On the stone-detritus areas thorny-cushion areas can be met with. About 4000 species of plants found in Kyrgyzstan. The variety and richness of the flora includes subtropical steppes, forests, high mountain meadows and low, Subalpine, grassland.

The most widely spread are spruce, juniper (locally known as Archa), and nut- and fruit-tree forests. There are also spruce-abies, maple, poplar-willow, and birch forests.  

The walnut- and fruit-tree forests take up an area of over 600 000 hectares and are the largest walnut- and fruit-tree forests in the world growing walnuts, apples, pears, and cherry-plum, cherry, currant, and raspberries canes.. They are to be found in the South-East of Kyrgyzstan, in the Fergana and Chatkal ranges at altitudes from 1000 up to 2200 m above sea level. Shrub thickets such as karaghun, cherry, rosary, pistachio, almond, cherry-plum, sea-buckthorn, barberry, mellow and others are widely spread. Sea-buckthorn, dog-rose, and willow grow in the flood-lands. Tien-Shan rowan-tree grows everywhere. In Alpine meadows at the altitude of 3000 m above sea level grow edelweiss, dandelion, aster Alpine, Semenov onion, primrose cold and other species of vegetation. You can meet different species of funguses in the forests, steppes, and meadows.

The flora of Kyrgyzstan abounds useful plants including medicinal ones, such as: ephedra, plantain, milfoil, sage, dog-rose, dushitsa, wormwort and many others. The fauna of Kyrgyzstan is also extremely diverse and consists of about 500 species of vertebrates and over 3000 species of insects. The variety of natural landscapes and the European, Siberian, Central-Asian, and South-Asian species are all found here. It is possible to find species which normally inhabit deserts and forests, valleys and mountains, steppes and meadows. There are 60 species of dragon-flies, 86 species of daytime butter-flies, 86 species of ants, 33 species of bees, and 250 species of cicadas in Kyrgyzstan. In the Kyrgyz water reservoirs 49 species of fish dwell. In the Issyk-Kul lake there is such fish as chebachok, chebak, sazan, carp, trout, marinka, osman, bream, line, pike-perch, sig, and crucian. In various water reservoirs and rivers dwell sazan, crucian, barbel, pike, marinka and other species of fish. In the mountain rivers dwells trout.

There are 25 species of reptiles including tortoises, lizards, and snakes in Kyrgyzstan.

Birds are represented by 335 species. In different areas one can meet pheasant, gray heron, cherry bird, tridactylous woodpecker, eagle-owl, silvered sea-gull, red-wing flamingo and other birds. On the unfrozen Issyk-Kul Lake hibernate hissing swans, crying swans, gray geese, pink and wavy pelicans. There are such rare birds as balaban, white stork, golden eagle, bearded vulture, bustard, demoiselle crane, snake eater, white-tail sea eagle, steppe eagle, black stork and others in Kyrgyzstan. 83 species of mammals dwell on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. One can encounter a mountain sheep (arkhar), bear, and maral in spruce forests of the Tien-Shan, and in Ak-Sai, Arpa, and Suusamyr highly mountainous valleys. The mountain ridges and valleys are the places for dwelling of fox, wolf, badger, weasel, ermine, and stone marten. In Kyrgyzstan dwells snow leopard, wild boar, roe, Siberian goat, porcupine, hedgehog, hare, marmot, andatrum and others. Kyrgyzstan protects such rare animals as dzheiran, red wolf, maral, snow leopard, Middle-Asian otter, Mensbir marmot, Tien-Shan brown bear, and Tien-Shan mountain sheep (arkhar) and others. Some animals of Kyrgyzstan are recorded in the Red Book of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature including the snow leopard, the Mensbir marmot, dzheiran, red wolf, and the gray monitor lizard.

To protect the wildlife special preserves, parks and natural reserves have been created, such as the Issyk-Kul, Sarychelek, and Besharal reserves.