The site consists of xerophytic rocky mountains being the eastern spurs of the Zailiyskiy Alatau (Northern Tian-Shan), 180 km to the east of Almaty - the largest city of Kazakhstan. The Zhalanash Mountain valley ajoins the area from the south, and the Syugaty valley from the north. The eastern border of the IBA is the Charyn river canyon, the west border the Chilik river. The ridge slopes have a lot of ravines, with hills, and rock ledges of various size. There are several springs. The slopes are covered with sparse grassy vegetation, there are groups of bushes in the hollows, and in some gorges in the western part of the area small patches of spruce forest. The higher part of the area, especialy in the south, is a grassy hilly plateau used for pasture.
The area provides good breeding and foraging conditions for a number of species of raptors: Falco cherrug, F. naumanni, F. tinnunculus, Aquila chrysaetos, Buteo rufinus etc. There is a complex of breeding species typical for dry rocky mountains of the Tian-Shan spurs, with birds of the desert zone as well as species of the Irano-Turanian mountains: Alectoris chukar, Athene noctua, Coracias garrulus, Eremophila alpestris, Ptyonoprogne rupestris, Monticola saxatilis, M. solitarius, Oenanthe pleschanka, Oe. isabellina, Petronia petronia, Bucanetes mongolicus, Corvus corax, Emberiza bruniceps, E. stewarti, E. buchanani, E. cia etc.
Non-bird biodiversity: Vegetation of the open slopes is mainly short grasses (Festuca sp., Poa sp.), in the hollows there are scattered miscellaneous herbs, of bushes Spirea sp., Rosa sp., Cerasus tianschanica, Ephedra sp., Caragana frutex are typical; Salix sp. are observed near springs, in some places there are small patches of spruce forest (Picea schrenkiana).
Typical mammals: Capra sibirica, Capreolus pygargus, Vulpes vulpes, Canis lupus, Meles meles, Lepus tolai, a number of rodents - Rhombomis opimus, Citellus relictus, Microtus sp., Alticola sp. etc.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threat is the illegal capture of Sakers for export to Arabian markets, therefore the number of this species decreased several times during the mid-1990s. Poaching still continues (on a lesser scale) in spite of more active work by the nature protection services. Disturbance exists only in the eastern part, grazing is moderate.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
For over 10 years staff of the Institute of Zoology (Almaty) have monitored Saker Falcon nests. In 2001-2003, the project "Golden Eagle" was carried out by the Bird Lovers Society "Remez" (Almaty) with the support of a GEF Small Grant Program, jointly with the local community. One of the goals of the project was the conservation and monitoring of nests of Golden Eagle and of other birds of prey.
The eastern part (about 5,000 ha) is included in the Charynskiy National Nature Park. An increase in the area of the Park is planned, and this will include more of the IBA.
Habitat and land use
More than half of the territory is used as pasture, now at a relatively low to moderate intensity. The part ajoining the Charyn river canyon is visited regularly by tourists from Almaty; other parts are relatively rarely visited.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Toraygyr Ridge. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 27/10/2021.