110 Years of Research in the Karakum Desert

95 years have passed since the establishment of the oldest nature reserve of the country out of nine existing ones – the Repetek Biosphere Reserve.  t was established in 1927 to preserve the black and white saxaul forests in the Eastern Karakum to replace the Repetek sandy-desert station that had existed since 1912 and had been established by the Imperial Russian Geographical Society and its Vice-President, a traveller P.P. Semenov-Tien-Shansky and managed until 1928 by Director V. Dubyansky, who was one of the founders of desert science in Central Asia. So, the research of the Karakum Desert there has been going on for 110 years. The station, together with the Nature Reserve, existed until 1998, since 1962 as a division of the National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna. Then, the reserve unit of international importance was transferred from the system of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan under the jurisdiction of the environmental department – now the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection of Turkmenistan.

Unique Breed from Antiquity to the Present Day

Alabay dogs, long-standing and indispensable helpers in the traditional households, rightfully stand among the symbols of national pride of our compatriots. If, according to hippology, the “Nisean horses” belong to one of the oldest breeds in the world, then, according to cynologists, the Central Asian shepherd dog was bred at the earliest stages of historical development. The artefacts, which were discovered by archaeologists in the Neolithic settlements located at the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains, make it possible to assume that a rather large dog was used to guard herds and houses. The Hero-Arkadag repeatedly emphasises the long and very complicated process of selecting, breeding and preserving this wonderful breed is a result of hard work and merit of our ancestors in the chain of many generations. It should be noted that among the representatives of the fauna that have gone through national selection, the domesticated dog chronologically occupies, perhaps, the initial position as the earliest domesticated mammal with subsequent divergence into various breeds, including our Turkmen Alabay dog.

Long-Awaited Guest – Wallcreeper

For true explorers, nature is full of amazing discoveries, we just have to take a closer look at it. Many miracles can be found in the Koytendag Mountains, where scientific expeditions go in search of rare animals and plants. There, the Koytendag State Nature Reserve operates to preserve and study the natural heritage, and scientific and practical research is carried out. Having a diploma of ecologist, I visited those places quite recently, any animal that I encountered in nature, previously known only from illustrations in educational reference books, aroused my enthusiastic interest. Of particular joy were trips deep into the protected area with researchers to carry out planned work, to monitor and record the inhabitants of the wildlife world. I remember a recent expedition with experienced colleagues from the Kopetdag, Badhyz and Kaplankyr Reserves, with whom we observed ungulates, the count of which continues until December, and carried out scientific field work and an examination of the state of the flora of a part of the canyons of all sections of the Koytendag Reserve.

Inhabitants of the Mountain Ranges

The Balhan Mountains, as old as the world, sung by Bayram Shahir in his poems, are the unique mountains of the sacred Turkmen land. Their peak – Mount Arlan, shrouded in snow and grey fog, rises at an altitude of 1,881 metres above sea level. The zodiac constellation Capricorn that looks like the horned inhabitants of the mountains flashes above it at night. The artiodactyls from the hollow-horned ruminants, including bezoar ibex that adapted well to the natural and climatic conditions of the mountains settled in those places long time ago. Their habitat is hard-to-reach mountain ranges and deep gorges, where the rays of the sun do not penetrate and people rarely set their foot.

Their Element Is Air

Our perception of birds is associated with expanses where feathered predators soar high in the sky or flocks of geese and cranes fly one after another. We know how mobile birds are, how fast and agile they are in flight. They fly over great distances, crossing seas, mountains and deserts during the migration season. Flying from one continent to another as the seasons change, the birds are active all year round. The ability of the avifauna to fly gives it an advantage over many other animals. They owe it to the physiological structure of their elongated body with the primary and covert wing feathers that form a dense surface area that supports the bird in the air. Birds lift their wings using the strong muscles attached to an inactive thorax. The bones of birds are very difficult to break and strong, as they contain more mineral salts. However, the skeleton of birds is very lightweight, because many bones are hollow and filled with air. Birds are warm-blooded, constant and high temperature (40-42 °C) allows them to fly in the high cold layers of air and enable them to live in a wide variety of climatic niches. Higher metabolic rates in birds make their heart work hard, and indeed birds have a much greater number of heartbeats than mammals, and small birds have the higher heart rate than large ones.


«», № 20 (103), 16.05.2022     Flamingo is a Portuguese word that has penetrated in many European languages. Flamingo in Russian, English and German, flamant in French, flamingi in Polish, flamenco in Spanish and plameňáci in Czech. Flamingo is translated from Latin as «flame», as the root of this word «flamma» means flame, fire or heat, which very accurately reflects the colour of these birds.

Ala­bay – the Most Ancient Dog Breed

This breed has several na­mes. It is cal­led the Turk­men Ala­bay, or the Cent­ral Asian shep­herd dog, or the Turk­men wolf­hound. Experts be­lieve that this is the ear­liest dog breed on the pla­net, the on­ly breed that has re­mai­ned uninf­luenced by ot­her breeds and pre­served its ancient ge­no­ty­pe in­tact. Ala­bay, as well as the Ahal­te­ke hor­se and the Ta­zy hun­ting dog, are con­si­de­red by the Turk­men peop­le their na­tio­nal trea­su­res.

Ta­king Care of Faith­ful Friend – Ala­bay

In recent years, the unp­receden­ted con­di­tions have be­en crea­ted to pro­mo­te the Ala­bay breed, and much work is to be do­ne in the ne­ar fu­tu­re. In 2020, the Pre­si­dent app­roved the pro­jects of the Ala­bay Bree­ding Cent­res, which are to be built in Ash­ga­bat and the Bal­kan, Das­ho­guz, Le­bap and Ma­ry velayats. The first facili­ties have be­en ope­ned: a specia­li­sed dog nur­se­ry and a vete­ri­na­ry cli­nic. Af­ter the es­tab­lish­ment of the In­ter­na­tio­nal As­socia­tion of the Turk­men Ala­bay and the be­gin­ning of the work to­wards inscri­bing the art of rai­sing and bree­ding of the ala­bay in­to the UNESCO Rep­re­sen­ta­tive List of the In­tan­gib­le Cul­tu­ral He­ri­ta­ge of Hu­ma­ni­ty, the cen­tu­ries-old pas­sion of the Turk­men peop­le for imp­roving the breed ta­kes on a new di­recti­on of develop­ment, and the im­por­tance of the ef­forts of cyno­lo­gists and ama­teur bree­ders in ta­king care of the living em­bo­di­ment of the he­ri­ta­ge of the ancient Turk­men land increa­ses. In accor­dance with the Decree of Pre­si­dent

Camel’s ,milk is medicine of illness

Saying «Camels are the world animals», «The rich man with camels is rich by the world treasure» the Turkmen people paid a great respect to camels. The camel’s meat, milk, wool are also have medicinal properties. Because of endurance of camel of waterless situation its meat is considered the medicine fighting against hot dry wind. Because even in the very hot days of summer camel can walk a week without water. The camel’s milk is considered as an invaluable natural beverage in strengthening the human body. It contains different oils. The camel’s milk, agaran, is a very valuable drink for quenching thirst. Besides that it is also a remedy for treating the diseases of kidneys and lungs. The clothes made of camel’s wool are medicinal and pleasant for human body. The table-cloth made of camel’s wool is considered sacred among the Turkmen people and the whole Muslim world. The species of arvana and bugra of camels which reached our days are considered one of the successes in cattle-breeding of our ancestors. Camel breeding is considered as a special art among the Turkmen people. Our ancestors considered Soltan Veyis as the sacred father of camels and they organized parties in honour of him. During centuries the caravans of camels traveled constantly along the Great Silk Road. In the last years different diets are kept in European countries to keep healthy the body. But

A Fluffy Pet next to Us

According to scientists, the ancestor of the domestic cat appeared 9 million years ago, and it was domesticated later than other animals. Africa is considered its homeland. When the fertile land of ancient Egypt gave rise to intensive farming, probably 9,000 years ago, farmers faced a problem. Rodents are crowded where there is a lot of grain. Fluffy pets were their only salvation from rodents. In gratitude, the ancient Egyptians let cats, or rather, wild Nubian cat that was somewhat domesticated at that time, into their homes. Together with their hunting qualities, the beauty of these animals delighted the owners of the houses, who deified their pets. According to Herodotus, the ancient Egyptians embalmed and buried cats in special stony sanctuaries.