History and Goals


The Altyn-Emel State National Natural Park was established by Decree of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan #416 of April 10, 1996. It is located on the territories of the former Kapchagai State Hunting Reserve, the Almaty State Reserve, the Kulan Farm, the Basshi Agricultural Enterprise.

The Altyn-Emel State National Natural Park has the status of an environmental and scientific institution and is under the jurisdiction of the Committee for Forestry and Wildlife of the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Altyn-Emel Logo


The Altyn-Emel National Park has been created for:

  • preservation of the unique ecosystems of the Ili intermountain basin and their biodiversity
  • protection of unique paleontological and natural complexes;
  • protection of historical and cultural monuments;
  • preservation and reproduction of rare, endangered and especially valuable species of flora and fauna;
  • development of ecological tourism with strict adherence to the norms of recreational capacity and load.

Altyn-Emel is quite large among the specially protected natural territories of Kazakhstan, which is extremely important for the preservation of the biological diversity of the region.

Altyn-Emel has been created as a theriological, ornithological and wetland natural park, the main goal of which is to preserve the most important and unique habitats, primarily of ungulates, as well as nesting areas for colonial birds and waterfowl of the Ili river floodplain and the coast of the Kapchagai reservoir.

At the same time, one of the main goals of the park has been the development of ecological tourism.

Altyn-Emel Wildlife Reserve
Altyn-Emel Nature Reserve
Altyn-Emel Natural Reserve

Altyn-Emel in UNESCO

The Altyn-Emel National Park was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves as a result of the decision of the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris at the regular session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB), held on June 12-15, 2017.

Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), launched in 1971 by UNESCO, aims to improve relationships between people and their environments. The main goal is to establish a scientific basis for cooperation on such issues as biodiversity loss, climate change and sustainable development. For its work, the program uses the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, that brings together specially protected natural areas which demonstrate the balanced interaction of people and nature.

In total, the network of biosphere reserves under the auspices of UNESCO includes 727 sites in 131 countries.

The Altyn-Emel Biosphere Reserve is geographically located in the central part of the Ili intermountain basin.

From the standpoint of the geobotanical and ecosystem approach, the Kapchagai-Ili region is of particular value, as it is located in the desert zone of Kazakhstan and is located in an intermountain basin. This territory is bounded by the southern spurs of Dzhungarian Alatau in the west and north, by the Kapchagai reservoir and the Ili River in the south, and is distinguished by a rare combination of various types of landscapes and ecosystems in a relatively small area.

Ecosystem diversity consists of various zonal and intrazonal types, such as different types of deserts, tugai forests of the Ili river floodplain, deciduous and spruce woodlands, salt marshes, sors, etc. The peculiarity of the vegetation cover of the Kapchagai intermontane depression is due to the physical and geographical features of the region with a sharply continental arid climate. Botanically and geographically, this territory is located in the transition zone between the Dzhungarian and North Turanian types of deserts, which explains the existence of unique plant communities and their combinations (Dzhungarian, Dzhungarian-North Turanian and North Turanian).

Also, the value of the Altyn-Emel biosphere reserve is in the monuments and objects of historical and cultural heritage located on its territory. The most significant of them are the Singing Dune natural monument of republican significance, the Saka burial mounds of Besshatyr, the Tanbaly Tas petroglyphs and other objects.

Thus, the ecological significance of the Altyn-Emel biosphere reserve lies primarily in the preservation and reproduction of the unique flora and fauna, landscapes and natural ecosystem of the Dzhungarian Alatau mountains and the Ili depression. This also includes the most valuable wetlands of the Ili floodplain.

The environmental regime and zoning of the reserve territory minimize the harmful impact of human economic activity on protected ecosystems and at the same time actively develope harmless ecological tourism.

The natural environment and ecosystems of Altyn-Emel as a whole are in a state little affected by human activity.

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