The 4th CADI Newsletter is available! Here we keep you informed about ongoing activities and results of our project. You can download the current newsletter in our Media Gallery, here you can also subscribe and receive future CADI newsletters.


Four issues about the world of temperate deserts will be released soon on the YouTube channel “Vse Kak U Zverei”. For almost three weeks the film crew “Vse Kak U Zverei” (ENG: Just like animals) collected materials in the deserts themselves, in the Kyzylkum, Aralkum deserts and the Ustyurt plateau in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The CADI project enabled the expeditions to the deserts of Central Asia.

 “This was my first long visit to Central Asia,” says Yevgenia, “before it I was only in the deserts of Australia and Africa.” In her lectures, Yevgenia reported about animals survive in the temperate desert and what they can teach humanity. After all, the harder the conditions of life, the faster the evolution takes its course. The desert occupies a large part of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, but many residents do not even suspect how many ideas and witty solutions are hidden there.

More than 233,000 people subscribe to the channel “Vse Kak U Zverei”, which has the “silver Youtube button”.

On 14 June, the 2nd CADI Steering Committee meeting was held in Nur-Sultan (former Astana), Kazakhstan. The meeting was attended by representatives of all implementing partners as well as of national partners from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The agenda included reports and discussions on the implementation of CADI activities in the target countries in 2018/2019. Furthermore, the meeting allowed for in-depth exchange on various options for the establishment of a regional CADI secretariat, effective knowledge management and the development of strategies to mitigate risks to the project.


The current management of Bereketli Garagum Nature Reserve was evaluated as part of a workshop in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan). The assessment will serve as a basis for developing appropriate measures to improve the functioning of the protected area within the CADI project. It was the first assessment of the 2013 established desert reserve.

Participants of the seminar used the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) method. Nigel Dudley, one of the developers of the METT method, moderated the workshop

Representatives from the government and different nature reserves as well as scientists took part in the event.

IPBES workshop dedicated to the upcoming International Day of Biodiversity took place on May 16th in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan). The event was organized by CADI in order to support international cooperation for nature conservation in Central Asia.

Within the seminar, the goals, mechanisms and current results of the platform were presented as well as the benefits offered by the IPBES membership. Turkmenistan currently is one of the Observer States of the 132-country’s body.

The final discussion made it clear that Turkmenistan’s possible membership of the IPBES platform will allow experts from relevant government agencies, academic institutions, and NGOs to significantly increase their access to up-to-date regional scientific results on biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as the influence on the international agenda. The decision to join the IPBES platform should be made by the respective government.

Decision-makers from the governmental agencies, as well as representatives of scientific, non-governmental and International Organizations from Turkmenistan, took part at the event.

Article in online journal “Solotoi vek” (Russian)

More about IPBES 

A CADI expedition to South Ustyurt, including Kaplankyr cliff (Mangystau region), took place from 18-29 April 2019. Aim of the expedition was to collect information on biodiversity and anthropogenic environmental influences.

The most significant discovery was the sighting of Kulan (Equus hemionus) since it had not been seen for decades. It was sighted on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

On the 115 km expedition route, 119 goitered gazelles were spotted, which significantly surpasses the results of previous expeditions and underlines the significance of South Ustyurt as an important habitat for goitered gazelles.

The final report on this expedition will be presented in autumn 2019 when the last data from the camera traps set up in April will be collected. The results of the three expeditions should serve as a basis for the creation of a new protected area in South Ustyurt.

Taking part in the expedition were the project advisor, Ph.D. zoologist Mark Pestov, deputy head of the State Nature Reserve Ustyurt, Zhaskairat Nurmukhambetov, research associate of the Nature Reserve Aktan Mukhashov, member of the NGO “Koldau-Kazakhstan”, Nurlykhan Ismailov, and CADI project coordinator for Kazakhstan, Vladimir Terentiyev.

Data on the occurrence, distribution and threats of Caracal (Caracal caracal), as threatened species (critically endangered) in Uzbekistan’s Red Data Book and in Appendix I of CITES were recently published in a peer-reviewed special issue of the Journal of Threatened Taxa. Up to now, more than 40,000 people around the world accessed the journal online.

CADI made it possible to conduct expeditions to collect many of the findings in the deserts of Uzbekistan and supported to raise and summarize the current state of knowledge about the threatened species. In the article, the author, Ms. Gritsina, concludes that the presence of remote and pristine desert habitats in Uzbekistan, such as parts of the southern Ustuyrt-Plateau or the Kyzylkum Desert, are the preconditions for the existence of that rare species to date. One of the biggest threats to the Caracal population are conflicts between shepherds and cats, as well as killings due to lack of knowledge about its stringent conservation status, as Ms. Gritsina points out in her article. It advocates for broad information campaigns, especially for the rural population, as well as an intensification of conservation efforts and the designation of protected areas in the deserts of Uzbekistan.


11-20 March in Astana, ACBK conducted a workshop on SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) and its implementation in Kazakhstan. The seminar was attended by participants from protected areas, representatives from company OkhotZooProm, and ACBK. SMART experts Michiel Hoette and Igor Kolodin from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) introduced the audience to the structure and objectives of SMART patrol monitoring system. During the seminar, the following topics were especially discussed in detail: data collection, data processing and data analyses, use of the SMART software, SMART-based patrol management.

CADI project supports the implementation of the SMART system in the State Nature Reserves Ustyurt and Barsakelmes.

With the photo contest starting today the CADI-project wants to attract attention to the aesthetic values of the cold winter desert, its use, threats, and protection.

The cold winter (also temperate) deserts, spreading from northern Iran across Central Asia to Mongolia, are an important migration area for birds and the last wild herds of ungulates. The enormous land masses deliver a broad range of ecosystem services. Also, for people living here for several generations, deserts have an important role.

Show us how important deserts are for you by entering the competition!

You can submit photos in two nominations:

  • Nature of desert
  • Desert and human

Timeline from March 14 till October 14, 2019

Checklist for entrants:

  • I’m of legal age.
  • Photos I want to submit were taken in cold-winter deserts of China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan.
  • Find more about terms and conditions.
  • Fill in the entry form.

New pictures from camera traps, set up during the November CADI-expedition, verify: The Persian leopard is still living in the Ustyurt Nature Reserve and obviously is in good condition!

The CADI-team is preparing the grounds for putting the Persian leopard on the Red List of Threatened Species in Kazakhstan. In addition, it is developing an action plan for the preservation of the leopard in Kazakhstan.

The planned measures to monitor and protect the leopard should not only save this amazingly beautiful and vulnerable species but also create conditions for the preservation of Ustyurt’s unique ecosystem.