Zauresh Alimbetova, Director of Barsakelmes Reserve in Kazakhstan – Leader of SDG 14 “Preservation of marine ecosystems”

I was born and raised on the Aral Sea. I remember the Aral Sea full of water and beautiful! Barsakelmes was an extraordinary beautiful island . My birthday – December 10, 1966 And the fact that I became director of the Barsakelmes Reserve years later, probably, not by accident ! Date of creation of the reserve – December 10, 1939

He has always attracted scientists to his rich and unusual flora and fauna. Many do not know that our reserve even entered romantic literature. Boris Lavrenev, who wrote the story “Forty-first,” was never on Aral, but every day listened to his neighbor in the commune Raykov I., who was part of the expedition L. Berg and here she spoke with admiration about the wonderful island of Barsakelmes.The story formed the basis of the film of the same name and it was the first conscience film that won the prize of Cannes Festival in 1956.

The ecological disaster of the Aral Sea began in the 1960s. At the time, Aral was the fourth largest lake in the world. But due to intensive agricultural development and abundant irrigation of the fields, the lake began to dry up. The water surface decreased by 90% and the salinity of the sea increased dramatically. A lot of fish died. With the whitening of the Aral Sea, Barsakelmes ceased to be an island. Many protected animal species had to leave the island and develop new islands where there were man-made wells. Unfortunately, many animals from our reserve were removed to other regions of the country. Probably when there is a lifeless desert around, few believe in the future of this region

In the 1990s, we admit, our reserve was inactive, there was no way to even get to it, and there was no funding. But with independence, when nature protection became a priority in politics for Kazakhstan, we also began to rise from our knees Thanks to the support of the state and international organizations, the Barsakelmes reserve was expanded 10 times by the Resolution of the Government of Kazakhstan in 2005 And now it consists of two clusters Barsakelmes State Nature Reserve is the only state nature reserve in Eurasia, where ecosystems of northern and medium real desert of temperate belt are protected and the only one in the world, located in the zone of ecological disaster of global scale

Ecosystems of the reserve are formed in extreme natural conditions of the new desert Aralkum, which is the drained bottom of the Aral Sea. It is a unique natural “laboratory” where you can observe the initial stages of ecosystem formation in continental conditions Systematic scientific research here has a great fundamental significance.

And all this is happening before my eyes. I am so attached to the Barsakelme Reserve that I think I feel it, just like it feels me . When I leave for a long time, I apologize to him for it But when I arrive, he goes straight open his arms to me And that ‘s the complete truth for me ! Probably because I am women A. Plus, the only woman is the director of one of the oldest state reserves, the territory of which is located in the most severe and, at the same time, exotic, facilities

In 15 years of work, I think I managed to cope with my work, defending the interests of nature protection thanks to the support of the Committee of Forestry and Animal Life, international organizations, the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and, of course, the team of the Reserve Ca. We have various international expeditions, scientific research, cognitive tours and other events on Aral to organize the collection of historical and modern data of this unique

We still maintain friendship with scientists of St. Petersburg State University named after A.Gerzen, who are very worried about the fate of the Aral Sea and make their invaluable contribution to its revival In recent years, the interest of young scientists from different countries in the Aral Sea problem has increased For the second year we have held youth summer schools for the countries of Central Asia and far abroad

I am grateful to my team, who believe in our common cause and believe in ideas that I often pass through my heart.

I am grateful to my family, who have always supported me, were sympathetic to my constant absence from home, because the reserve is 350 km from my house in the city of Aral In addition, the problem of the Aral Sea requires me to go to various seminars and conferences throughout the world. Ru. My daughter independently studied English thanks to volunteers of the Peace Corps and is now studying at the Master ‘s Degree of the Roman Universal

Endurance and loyalty to the native land can be “learned” from our kulans, who are not frightened even by the absence of fresh water. An example of this is these numbers. Between 1982 and 1991 about 260 kulans were transferred to other reserves of the Republic And the remaining 50 individuals gave a seed of up to 500. Currently, the annual growth of kulans is 20-25 golo

Despite the ecological catastrophe at the former bottom of the Aral Sea, new terrestrial ecosystems began to form again, and animals found new suitable pastures for themselves. Jairans and saigas for the first time in many years even had to learn to live on the same land with predators, because they were not on the island.

 

The whole story is highly instructive and vividly illustrates how perfectly wild animals are adapted to the vicissitudes of being on their harsh land. And it takes not much effort from man to keep our neighbors on the planet.

In 2006, the World Bank project “Regulation of the Syrdarya River and the Northern Aral Sea” was completed and this has made an amazing difference to the life of the Aral Sea. And we Aralchans are always proud that Elbasa N.A.Nazarbaev has provided great assistance in solving these problems

The example of the Aral Sea is a negative example of the youngest man-made and man-made catastrophe Addressing all people, I call not to invade the laws of nature

But the problems of the Aral Sea remain – the southern part of the sea has almost completely dried up A. Strong winds lift up to 60 tons of dust and salt into the air every year and spread them to large ares At present we are actively developing the drained bottom of the Aral Sea, planting local tree species, using technologies that increase the survival of trees, as well as water-saving ones

Our reserve and sea have changed, but continue to be a natural pearl

I am very pleased that the 14 Sustainable Development Goal of the UN Global Agenda is related to the preservation of marine ecosystems! And I as a person nominated for the status of the Leader of SDG -2030 among rural women of Kazakhstan, I am ready to contribute to the further achievement of this goal through my favorite work in the reserve and on the Aral Sea.

Authors: Zauresh Alimbetova, Director of the Barsakelmes State Nature Reserve, Kyzylorda region

Lyazat Askarov, Project Manager “Public Institute” Leaders of SDG-2030 of Kazakhstan “.

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