Ili River Delta and South Lake Balkhash

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Ili River Delta and South Lake Balkhash

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    976,630.3 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    45°35'N 74°44'E
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


The wetland is situated in Southern Kazakhstan, in the northern part of three districts: Balkhash, Karataly and Aksu. The Ili River Delta is the largest remaining natural delta on an inland lake in Central Asia. It supports 10 inland wetland types including permanent inland delta; freshwater lake; rivers, streams or creeks; and seasonal or intermittent freshwater lakes. The wetland provides a rich variety of desert flora (427 species) and fauna (345 species) and supports a range of threatened species, including 25 bird, 1 fish and 3 mammal species. Important threatened species include the Goitered Gazelle, Marbeled Polecat, White-headed Duck, Red-breasted Goose and Ship Sturgeon. More than 70,000 birds have been counted at the site, including greater than 1% of the global population of 8 bird species, such as the Dalmatian Pelican. Balkash Lake and the Ili River Delta are important fishery water bodies and the floodplains in the area are the most productive haying lands and good pastures. The wetland is being threatened by a 30% reduction in the water inflow due to the construction of the Kapchagai hydroelectric station and creation of the Akdaly irrigation unit. The wetland area is managed under the authority of the Altyn-Emel State National Nature Park.

Administrative region: 
Almaty Oblast

  • National legal designation: 
    • Important Bird Areas - Ili River Delta, Topar Lake System and Lower reaches of the Karatal River
    • State Nature Sanctuaries - Balkhash, Karroy and Kukan
  • Last publication date: 


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