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Kunovat River Basin Wetlands

Map for Kunovat River Basin Site

Geographic Location

The site is located at 65° 05’ N, 66° 40’ E, maximal elevation 70 m above sea level, in Yamalo-Nenetsky Autonomous Oblast.


Kunovatsky is a unique valley network of 147,000 ha which includes an extended pseudo-delta area. This wetland covers part of Kunovat and Logasjegan rivers’ catchments and is one of the world richest waterbird habitats. The area is extremely important as breeding and moulting ground for waterbirds, especially ducks and swans, and as a stopover during the migration seasons. This wetland is also an important feeding area for sturgeon and whitefish.

Conservation Status

The project site is listed as a “zakaznik” (wildlife refuge), providing limited legal protection.

SCWP Objectives

The first phase of the project is striving to update Kunovatsky Zakaznik regulations to provide a higher level of protection as soon as possible. The focus will be on capacity building activities to support the regional government and organizations working in the site, and outreach with the local Khanti communities who themselves represent an endangered indigenous population.

Over the course of the project, activities will aim toward the creation of a Biosphere Nature Reserve complex, with a core zone of the territory of the existing Kunovatsky Zakaznik (150,000 ha), a Biosphere Polygon (300,000 ha) with a Nature Park, and a buffer zone (up to 200,000 ha). This Reserve complex would jointly protect rare waterbird species as well as the traditional land use activities and lifestyle of the indigenous people. A site management plan will be developed in consultation with local stakeholders.


Breeding pair of Siberian cranes in Kunovat

Kunovat wetlands

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Last update: March 23, 2005.

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