"Tigrovaya Balka" is a nature reserve in Tajikistan, located on the territory of three districts - Dusti, Dzhaikhun and Kubodiyon, Khatlon region. It was granted the status of a reserve in 1938.
The area of the reserve is about 50 thousand hectares.
What makes Tigrovaya Balka a unique place?
The reserve "Tigrovaya Balka" is the only place on Earth where the desert-tugai complex has been preserved. Tugai occupy a significant area of the reserve - more than 24 thousand hectares.
Close ground waters on the floodplain terrace provide the reserve's vegetation with moisture throughout the year. The peculiarity of ecological conditions also lies in the fact that a long summer drought causes a very dry air.
Where humid areas are significant, tugai forests turn into impenetrable jungles, reminiscent of mangrove forests. It is a kind of biological oasis.
An unusual tree - turanga grows here. It is a kind of poplar. The staff of the reserve say that you can write on a piece of turanga with a pen, and the inscription will remain as on paper. And if you try to do this on a sheet of an ordinary poplar, it will tear and the inscription will not be visible at all.
This type of poplar easily adapts to hot and arid climates.
Another feature of this tree is that it does not like human intervention, it does not lend itself to grafting. It grows by itself, where there are conditions for it.
In the reserve, the noble Bukhara deer lives in pristine natural conditions, called "hangul".
This species is considered endangered, so the state is trying to ensure its safety by all means. Currently, the number of Hangul is over 200.
Apart from the deer, you can also find gazelle, Bukhara Mountain sheep (urial), hyena, jungle cat, badgers, wild boars, tolai hares, foxes, jackals, wolves and such reptiles as gray monitor lizard, Central Asian cobra, blunt-nosed viper, carpet viper.
On the territory of the reserve, there were initially 42 lakes with a total area of 5.5 thousand hectares. Over the past 40 years, their number has decreased by 2 times, and at present there are only 20 large and small lakes in the reserve with a total area of about 4 thousand hectares. The main part of the lakes is concentrated in the tugai zone.
Daryo-Kul is one of the largest and most beautiful. A new hunting lodge and observation deck have been built on the banks of the Daryo-Kul. The length of this lake is over 5 km, width is 150-200 m. To the west of it is the Khalka-Kul lake, almost 3 km long. All lakes are located on the left bank of the Vakhsh River.
They are 16 species of fish belonging to 5 families in these lakes. Mostly the carp, which weighs up to 10 kg. An extremely curious representative of the fish kingdom also lives in the lakes - a small mosquito - an exterminator of the larvae of anopheles mosquitoes.
Of the birds, a unique subspecies of the pheasant and black and gold, beautiful desert partridge live here.
On the territory of the reserve there is a pheasantry, where Tajik pheasants and mountain partridges - kekliks - are bred. Recently, the bustard has come here for the winter.