Bukhara Deer Have Returned To Kazakhstan After Numbering Less Than 400

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Having a deep affection for their wild steppe lands, has central Asian governments launching projects with great success to return animals back to the wild since the fall of the Soviet Union.


Photo by Sarefo, CC license

While reestablishing tigers to the area, Bukhara deer have returned to the shores of Lake Balkhash, located in central Kazakhstan. The Bukhara deer have not been there for over 100 years. 

 The World Wide Fund (WWF) and the Ministry of Ecology, Geology, and Natural Resources are planning to release hundreds of deer over the next 5 to 6 years.

These efforts in the Ili-Balkhash Nature Reserve is only one of many projects to reintroduce deer to their natural places along with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. 


Shutterstock / Bukhara Deer

These nations have already brought the population of Bukhara deer back from the brink of extinction and number approximately 1,400 across many countries.

Not only this project but these countries are working to restore the tiger species back into Kazakhstan and other countries where they once lived. If successful, Kazakhstan will be the first country to bring back tigers of different species into the area where they have been destroyed. 

Conservation projects of the big cats have been underway, quite successfully, over the past few years.

Over the past 10 years, projects of the Global Snow Leopard Forum, which is an international conservation organization founded in Kyrgyzstan, have successfully taken the snow leopard off the endangered list.

First Country to Implement Large Scale Projects

The Kazakhstani Minister of Agriculture, Askar Myrzakhmetov said it’s a great honor to be the first country implementing such important, large-scale projects to return these tigers to their lands.

It’s extremely important to them that through this program the ecosystem of the Ili-Balkhash region will finally be restored.


Shutterstock / White Bukhara Reindeer

Igor Chestin, director of WWF Russia said that. with successful cooperation, they have created new reserves and restored many rare species such as the Bukhara deer and kulan which gives even more reason to believe the tiger will return to the Balkhash Tugai deer in a few years.

According to WWF Chair in Conservation Genetics, Carlos Driscoll, since the subspecies of the Caspian Tiger became extinct in the 1970s, reintroduction efforts will involve Amur tigers, better known as Siberian tigers, which are actually very similar to the Caspian tiger and actually are not really considered two separate species.

When scientists start reintroducing species, the first step is to find donors. In this particular case, Russia is the most likely candidate to donate endangered Amur tigers. 

One of the benefits of establishing various populations, even if you have to reduce the numbers in certain areas, it will reduce the chance of extinction from local disasters such as the outbreak of diseases.

Maintaining 2 geographically separated populations of any animal species have been seen at different times. As an example, the US brought back the California Condor to increase their overall health.

The wilderness of Lake Balkhash would offer the ideal home for the Amur tiger and the deer species that were once hunted. If Kazakhstan can continue to have the will to save these animals, nature can also find a way.