Tyuleniy Archipelago (Kazakhstan)

Tyuleniy Archipelago (Kazakhstan)

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The Tyuleniy Archipelago or Tüledi Araldary is an island group in the northeastern Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

, located west of the Mangyshlak Peninsula
Mangyshlak Peninsula
Mangyshlak or Mangghyshlaq Peninsula is located in westernKazakhstan. It borders on the Caspian Sea in the north and west.Administratively, the peninsula is in Kazakhstan's Mangystau Province. The largest city,and the capital of the province,...

 and about 13 km NW of the Tupkaragan Peninsula, 27 km north of Bautino.

Administratively the Tyuleniy Archipelago belongs to the Mangystau Province of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

.

Islands

  • Kulaly Island (Kulaly-Aral) is the westernmost and the longest island, being 25 km from its northern tip to its southern. Its shape is slightly irregular, with inlets and headlands. There is a meteorological station with a lighthouse and a Kazakh border guard post on this island, making it the only one of the group that has human habitation. The terrain on Kulaly is arid except in the parts that are waterlogged and reed-covered.
  • Morskoy Island (Morskoy Aral) is the following island and the second largest island. It is also the biggest in area, with a length of 19 km and a maximum width of 7 km. This island, however, consists mostly of wetland
    Wetland
    A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

    .
  • Rybachy Island (formerly Ostrov Svyatoy) is long and narrow and is located south of Morskoy.
  • Podgornyy Island is located NE of Rybachy.
  • Novyy Island is the easternmost island. It is located between Podgorny and the mainland. This island has a very irregular shape.

Ecology



These islands are semi-desertic and sandy, with only very little grass growth. There are reed
Typha
Typha is a genus of about eleven species of monocotyledonous flowering plants in the family Typhaceae. The genus has a largely Northern Hemisphere distribution, but is essentially cosmopolitan, being found in a variety of wetland habitats...

s on the leeward side of Kulaly as well as on the remaining islands which are much lower and waterlogged. Many Caspian seal
Caspian Seal
Caspian seals , one of the smallest members of the earless seal family, are unique in that they are found exclusively in the brackish Caspian Sea. They can be found not only along the shorelines, but also on the many rocky islands and floating blocks of ice that dot the Caspian Sea...

s come to the shores of these islands, hence their name "Tyuleniy", which means "seal".

These islands have been declared an IBA
Important Bird Area
An Important Bird Area is an area recognized as being globally important habitat for the conservation of bird populations. Currently there are about 10,000 IBAs worldwide. The program was developed and sites are identified by BirdLife International...

 and a National Protected Zone (State Reservation). There are large concentrations of seagulls and wetland birds, like coots
Eurasian Coot
The Eurasian Coot, Fulica atra, also known as Coot, is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae. The Australian subspecies is known as the Australian Coot.-Distribution:...

, wild ducks, swan
Swan
Swans, genus Cygnus, are birds of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and ducks. Swans are grouped with the closely related geese in the subfamily Anserinae where they form the tribe Cygnini. Sometimes, they are considered a distinct subfamily, Cygninae...

s, egret
Egret
An egret is any of several herons, most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Many egrets are members of the genera Egretta or Ardea which contain other species named as herons rather than egrets...

s and wader
Wader
Waders, called shorebirds in North America , are members of the order Charadriiformes, excluding the more marine web-footed seabird groups. The latter are the skuas , gulls , terns , skimmers , and auks...

s, in the archipelago during their nesting period. This archipelago is also an important breeding ground for the Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis).

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