Since 2019, Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK) and the Institute of Zoology have been collecting data on animal deaths and, based on this data, preparing appeals to state agencies for appropriate action. From May 13 to 15, 2022, another trench survey was conducted in Turkestan Oblast.
Farmers dig trenches up to 2.2 meters deep to fence off farmland, and they become death traps for reptiles – turtles, lizards, snakes – as well as some domestic animals. In the summer of 2021, after a number of appeals and publications, the Akimat of the region began to solve the problem, orders were given to eliminate the trenches. The regional Land Inspectorate conducted an inventory and found that 216 land users in 17 districts used the trenches. Farmers were held administratively liable administrative penalties and part of the trenches were buried by themselves.
Some of the trenches are still not eliminated and exist since 2019, and one of the longest, 35 kilometers, is on the border of Keles and Saryagash districts. This May, 113 reptiles were rescued in a 4 kilometer stretch of this trench. Last May, about 250 animals were rescued from a 7 kilometer stretch of the same trench.
Given the total length of this trench, the ACBK estimates that up to 1,000 reptiles die in it each year from dehydration and exhaustion or rain flooding, not counting the huge number of invertebrate animals.