The population of the Goitered Gazelle in Kazakhstan has decreased by about 90% over the last decades, mostly due to poaching and habitat loss. Several isolated populations are now roaming through smaller and fragmented areas. The fence at the border of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, as well as the roads, rails and pipelines, are preventing their free movement, cutting them off from water and greatly reducing their ability to adapt to climate change.
Project action will address the general lack of knowledge about the status, conservation needs and importance of this species. The activities include:
- Conducting ield surveys along the southern border of the Republic of Kazakhstan, collecting observations of animals and their traces, and interviewing local residents, livestock herders and border guards;
- Conducting surveys in two key areas, Ustyurt and Barsa-Kelmes Reserves, combining camera traps, field and drone surveys, and interviews with protected area staff;
- Placing GPS-collars in each of the study sites to learn about the gazelle’s movements, reactions to human infrastructure and disturbance, and to help identify water sources;
- Raising awareness about this species amongst the local community and stakeholders;
- Facilitating the transboundary dialogue with scientific and governmental organizations in Turkmenistan.
Overall, this project will assess the status of the Goitered Gazelle in southern Kazakhstan and help understand their habitat use and movement, while also specifying the ways the border fencing affects them. Gathered results will help define most appropriate conservation measures, and shape this species conservation Action Plan in Kazakhstan.