Kyzyl Kum

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The Kyzyl Kum (Uzbek: Qizilqum, Kazakh: Қызылқұм), also called Qyzylqum, is the 11th largest desert in the world. Its name means Red Sand in Uzbek, Kazakh and Turkish. It is located in Central Asia in the doab between the rivers Amu Darya and Syr Darya, and is divided between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and (partly) Turkmenistan. It covers about 298,000 km² (approximately 115,000 sq mi).

Contents

Geography

The territory consists mainly of an extensive plain at an altitude up to 300 m (about 1000 feet) above sea level, with a number of the depressions and highlands (Sultanuizdag, Bukantau). Most of the area is covered with sand-dunes (barchans); in the North-West large areas are covered with takirs (clay coatings); there are also some oases. There are agricultural settlements along the rivers and in the oases. Temperatures can be very high during the summer months, from mid-May to mid-September. Kerki, one extreme inland city located on the banks of the Amu Darya River, recorded 51.7C in July 1983.

Fauna

Desert fauna include occasional winter migrant in the northern part of the desert the Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica) and a large lizard Desert or Transcaspian Monitor (Varanus griseus) that can reach lengths of 1.6 m (5 ft). There is a Kyzyl Kum nature reserve in Bukhara Province, founded in 1971. The area of the reserve amounts to 101,000 km² (approximately 39,000 sq mi) and it is located on flood-land (tugai) drained by the Amu-Darya close to the settlement Dargan Ata. Fauna include: the Bukhara Deer (a local species of Cervus elaphus), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetus) etc.

Another reserve (or eco-centre), "Djeyran", is located 40 km to the south of Bukhara. The total area of this reserve is 51,450 km² (approximately 20,000 sq mi). It is a breeding centre for rare animals such as: the Goitered or Persian Gazelle Gazelle (Djeyran, Gazella subgutturosa), Przewalski's Horse (Equus przewalskii), the Koulan (Onager, Equus hemionus) and Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata). The reserve was founded in 1977 on the enclosed area in 5,131 ha.

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