- Site number:1943
- Area:36,869 ha
- Designation date:23-01-2011
- Coordinates:41°49'N 75°07'E
Son-Kol Lake.23/01/2011; Naryn Oblast; 36869ha; 41°50N 75°07E. The Ramsar site includes the Karatal-Japyryk State Nature Reserve.
Son-Kol Lake is the largest high altitude freshwater lake in central Kyrgyzstan. It is valuable both as a stopover point for a high diversity of migratory birds, such as the Black Stock (Ciconia nigra), as well as supporting breeding populations of gulls (e.g. Larus spp), terns (e.g. Sterna hirundo), geese (e.g. Anser indicus), and grebes (e.g. Podiceps nigricollis). The site also offers refuge for threatened species like the critically endangered Great Bustard (Otis tarda) and the vulnerable Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug).
The lake is important for maintaining the livelihood of pastoralists and is also a popular camping site for tourists.
Historically, the lake was used as a meeting place for many tribes. The site is archaeologically significant for its burial mounds, stone monuments and stone hearths. Local people consider the lake and its basin as sacred, and often visit this area to pray.
Prior to 1957 the lake was fishless but since then, introduced fish (e.g. Coregonus peled) have provided alternative sources of food. However, such introductions have altered the zooplankton composition in the lake which in turn, has affected the number of bird species occurring in the area. Particularly, the decrease in population of the Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) has been attributed to the shortage of food for their juveniles.
The site is jointly managed by the Karatal-Japyryk State Nature Reserve and the State oblast administration. Ramsar site no. 1943. Most recent RIS information: 2010.
- National legal designation:
- State Nature Reserve
- Last publication date:23-01-2011