Chokpak Pass is situated in the Western Tien Shan, between Zabaglytau (Talassky Alatau) and Boroldai (Karatau) ridges. Maximum altitudes of Zabaglytau are 2700-2900 m a.s.l., and Boroldai - 1500-1700 m a.s.l. The pass is the narrowest place between the Talassky Alatau and Karatau, the distance between their slopes being no more than 7-9 km. It is also the highest point of the inter-mountain valley. There is the densely populated Arys river valley to the west and the Dzyvalinsky valley to the east. At the pass, there are Shokpak-Baba (Vysokoe), Shokpak-Ata (Kremenevka) and Shokpak villages. Relatively plain steppe plots are used as arable land (90%) for cereals, vegetables, lucerne, etc. Original bunchgrass steppe covers much of the slopes of the smaller peaks. Forest plantations occur as lines along the borders of fields and roads.
269 bird species of 17 orders were registered at Chokpak Pass during passage. Migration intensity depends mainly of weather conditions. The main groups are passerines and raptors. Several millions of birds migrate here. For example, 15,700 birds of prey were counted between 9-14 September 2003. The maximum intensity of their passage was up to 2,000 birds per hour. In autumn 1999, more than 100,000 Corvidae were observed during 2 hours.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Study of bird migration is carried by the Chokpak Ringing Station of the Institute of Zoology (Almaty).