Info Shymkent - Group of Kulans in Altyn Emel Nationalpark in Kazakhstan (Photo by Farhat Kabdykairov)

Kulans in Kazakhstan – a animal success story

Did you know that the wild kulans, which live in large herds in the Altyn-Emel National Park, were extinct in Kazakhstan for a while?

The wild Kulans – also popular as Turkmenistani onagers – are a subspecies of onagers which once lived in large herds in the steppes of Central Asia from Ukraine in the west over Afghanistan and Iran in the south to the north west of Sibiria. But the animals were heavily hunted at the end of the 20th century and the habitats were cut up and restricted by new settlements, railways and roads. In 1919, the Soviet Union banned hunting of the Kulans. But this didn’t help much: the number of animals continued to decline and by the 1930s, the Turkmenistani onager was extinct in the territory of today’s Kazakhstan.

Thanks to reintroduction programs, the largest Kulan population of over 3,400 animals now lives in the Altyn-Emel National Park in Kazakhstan.

Article photo made by Farhat Kabdykairov