Our partnership

The Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative (Altyn Dala) is led by the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK), with financial and technical assistance from Fauna & Flora (F&F), Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), in partnership with the Committee of Forestry and Wildlife of the Government of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.

Together, we are working alongside local communities across the landscapes of Altyn Dala to restore healthy steppe grassland, wetland, and desert ecosystems for wildlife and people.

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Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK) 

ACBK is the lead, implementing partner of Altyn Dala. Founded in 2004, we are the only national conservation organisation in Kazakhstan, and the country's official BirdLife representative.

ACBK seeks to ensure the sustainable conservation of biodiversity through developing strong partnerships, supporting local initiatives and building national capacity and expertise. Our remit includes conservation education and capacity development; large-scale ecosystem restoration; biodiversity research and policy advocacy; protected area management and ecotourism development.

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Fauna & Flora (F&F)

Established over a century ago, Fauna & Flora (F&F) is the world’s oldest international wildlife conservation organisation. We have been quietly shaping and influencing conservation practice since our foundation in 1903.

Our focus is on protecting biodiversity, which underpins healthy ecosystems and is critical for the life-support systems that humans and all other species rely on.

Working in partnership with the Government of Kazakhstan and ACBK, F&F has supported conservation of the steppe and semi-desert habitats in Kazakhstan for nearly 15 years. A major focus for F&F in recent years has been to support local actors to better to respond to and prevent illegal wildlife trade of key species from these landscapes, including the saiga antelope, steppe tortoise and saker falcon. By helping to the Government of Kazakhstan to effectively prevent the trade and hunting of these species, we’re helping to bring about the conditions for these species to flourish, and once again fulfil their former roles in the ecosystem

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Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) 

The Frankfurt Zoological Society is an international conservation organisation. From our offices in Frankfurt, we coordinate projects across 18 countries, involving more than a thousand people. Our common goal is the conservation of wildlife and wild places.  

We work where national parks and wilderness areas need our support, with partners including local communities, conservation authorities, national park administrations, and other NGOs. 

FZS co-founded the Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative in 2005 after working on combating poaching of the saiga antelope in Kazakhstan since 2002. Utilizing experiences from large mammal conservation in Africa, FZS has invested in exchanging expertise from its Serengeti project on migratory wildebeest to produce a monitoring scheme in Kazakhstan, enabling robust data to be collected for over a decade on the population dynamics of wild animals, including saiga antelope. 

Recent priorities in Kazakhstan include reintroducing locally extinct flagship species such as the Asiatic wild ass, or kulan, and supporting preparations for the reintroduction of the Przewalski’s Horse; enhancing ranger training and access to equipment, supporting Government engagement with international conventions such as CMS, as well as building the capacity of local researchers to publish their results in peer reviewed journals.

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The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

We are passionate about nature and dedicated to saving it. Since we started on our mission in 1889, the threats to nature have continued to grow, but we've grown to meet them too.

We’re now the largest nature conservation charity in the UK, consistently delivering successful conservation, forging powerful new partnerships with other organisations, and inspiring others to stand up and give nature the home it deserves.

The RSPB is dedicated to assisting ACBK and the Government of Kazakhstan establish a series of connected State Protected Areas. Since co-founding the Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative, the RSPB have been employing conservation science, threatened species recovery and capacity development skills to conserve and begin restoring Kazakhstan's vast landscapes.

In 2022, the RSPB supported the partnership in establishing a new, 780,000 hectare Protected Area in west Kazakhstan, home to the world's largest population of saiga antelope. In doing so, we are helping build careers, generate employment in rural communities, and enhance ecosystem services.

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The Committee of Forestry and Wildlife of the Government of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources

The Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the central executive body of the Republic of Kazakhstan, carrying out leadership in the areas of formation and implementation of state policy, coordination of management processes in the fields of environmental protection, development of the ‘green economy’, waste management (excluding municipal, medical and radioactive waste), protection, control and supervision of the rational use of natural resources, state geological study, reproduction of the mineral resource base, use and protection of the water fund, water supply, sanitation, forestry, conservation, reproduction and use of the animal world and specially protected natural territories.

What our partners say

Across the partnership, there are dozens of people working together to bring this ambitious vision to life. Here are just a few of them.

David Gill

F&F Deputy Regional Director, Eurasia

“There’s nowhere else in the world like the Kazakh steppe, where you can still find prehistoric animals wandering around.”

Mark Day

RSPB Head of Kazakh Steppe Conservation Programme

“When I visited the steppe in 2006, I saw no more than seven saiga in a week. Now, all you hear is their amazing mooing. You’re surrounded by tens of thousands of saiga. The transformation is amazing.”

Stephanie Ward

International Coordinator for Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative

“The saiga antelope are among the only living beings to have run freely amongst both Neanderthal humans and the humans of the 21st century. We owe it to our collective heritage to protect them!”

Alyona Koshkina

ACBK Researcher

“To me, the steppe means freedom. It’s a vast, flat, endless landscape. Sunrises and sunsets here are very special. It makes you feel alive. This place is part of my soul.”

Our achievements wouldn't be possible without the support from our donors.
If you would like to support our Initiative, or have any questions, please get in touch.