The IBA is situated on the limestone-gypsum Mangyshlak peninsula 30 km to the east of Aktau city (in Karakiyansky district) and includes most of the Karagye depression – the deepest depression near the Caspian Sea – and the 'chinks' (high cliffs) of the western edge of the Mangyshlak plateau to the north. The plain areas of the site consist of clay and clay-stony northern desert with fragments of southern desert, and scattered saltmarshes. The main vegetation are anabasis-salsa associations with Artemisia spp., ephemerals, Salsola spp. and strips of bushes – Tamarix, Haloxylon (Saxaul) and Eurotia.
The IBA supports a typical set of desert species, with a high density of birds of prey. Other rare species include houbara bustard and black-bellied sandgrouse, both of which are included in the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan.
Non-bird biodiversity: Manul cat (Felis manul), desert lynx (Lynx caracal), goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) and arkal (Ovis orientalis arkal) are included in the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan, the last two are also globally threatened species.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threats are:
- illegal capture of Saker Falcons
- development of infrastructure for petroleum (oil) production.
The level of threat might be higher in the future as there is active development of oil/gas drilling infrastructure, and an enlarging of the transportation corridor.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The IBA overlaps (approximately 50%) with the Karagye-Karakolsky Zakaznik (zoological nature sanctuary of republican importance) established in 1986 and re-confirmed in 2003.
Habitat and land use
Highways, oil pipelines and powerlines go through the IBA in one section. About half of the area (within the Karagiye-Karakolskiy Zakaznik) is used for nature conservation.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Karagie Depression. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 07/05/2021.