|Most recent IBA monitoring assessment|
|Year of assessment||Threat score (pressure)||Condition score (state)||Action score (response)|
|2006||very high||not assessed||negligible|
|For more information about IBA monitoring please click here|
This site is situated 45 km to the SW of the district center Gagarin. It includes Arnasay water reservoir, adjusting lakes and part of the sandy desert. The length of the reservoir is about 70 km, width up to 7-12 km, average depth 5-7 m., and has a gently sloping shore. The shoreline is indented by long shore bays sometimes with thin strips of reed. The isolated lakes are surrounded by tugay forest and have extensive cover of reeds (up to 60-70%). The lakes tend to freeze (December/January to March) but not every year.
Currently no comprehensive data on the ornithofauna of this area exists. The list of birds of the adjacent territory includes about 230 species. Surveys carried out in spring 1998, summer 2004 and summer-autumn 2006 recorded 80 species. Of these, four are included on the IUCN Red List (Pelecanus crispus, Aythya nyroca, Aegypius monachus and Coracias garrulus) and 10 species are included on the national Red Data Book, namely, Pelecanus onocrotalus, Pelecanus crispus, Phalacrocorax рygmaeus, Plegadis falcinellus, Platalea leucorodia, Cygnus olor, Aythya nyroca, Aquila nipalensis, Aquila chrysaetos and Haliaeetus albicilla. A flock of Otis tarda (five individuals) was recorded by inspectors of the Aidar-Arnasai Basin Inspectorate in this area in 2004. Hunters noted that Branta ruficollis and Anser erythropus were among the species shot in a number of years.
Non-bird biodiversity: Animals are represented by typical species of the desert and waterside: gerbils, Long-clawed Ground Squirrel, jebroas, Fox (ssp. caragana), Corsac Fox, Steppe Cat, Wild Boar and Badger. An increase in the numbers of jackal and introduced muskrat has been noted in the last few years. Desert Monitor and Steppe tortoises, Phrynocephalus interscapularis and other lizards are common. Dice Snake, Marsh Frog and Green Toad are also recorded. Water bodies are inhabited by sazan, Pike-perch, Catfish, Roach, introduced Channa argus and Silver Carp. The coasts and islets of Arnasay reservoir and adjoining lakes are covered with desert species such as Haloxylon persicum, Populus ariana, P. proinosa, Alhagi psendalhagi, Ammodendron argentum, Astragalus amarus and Ferula caspica, and tree-shrub plants and grasses. Phragmites communis and Typha angustifolia grow along the shoreline; Potomogeton lucens, P. pectinatus, Myriophyllum spicatum, Ceratophyllum demersum etc. grow in the water.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Arnasay Lake System. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/12/2019.