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Kazakh Actress Calls for Contributions to Help Return Tugai Deer to Balkhash Lake

ASTANA – Kazakh actress and ambassador for Russia’s World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Kazakhstan Bibigul Aktan has called upon residents of Kazakhstan to take part in a programme to return Tugai deer (Bactrian deer) to Lake Balkhash area. The actress wrote about this on her Instagram page, the NewTimes.kz information agency reported.

“Dear friends! Dear people of Kazakhstan! As an ambassador for WWF Russia in Kazakhstan, I call upon you not to be apathetic. Make your small contribution to the work of returning Tugai deer to the southern Balkhash,” her message said, according to the agency. Aktan has been an ambassador for Russia’s WWF in Kazakhstan since autumn 2015.

“Helping nature and saving rare animals from extinction has always been my childhood dream. Now we are preparing the programme for returning Tugai deer to the southern shore of Lake Balkhash,” Aktan wrote.

According to the Express-k.kz news website, the last Tugai, also called Bukhara deer, was shot in 1956 in the Tarturai tract in the Syr Darya River area. The animals once lived in the Aral, Kyzylorda and Balkhash flood plains. Tugai are smaller than forest deer and their branched antlers form a shape that looks like a crown, leading them to be called “noble” deer.

The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international nongovernmental organisation that has been working in biodiversity conservation for more than 50 years. With the fund’s support, Tugai deer were brought to the Syr Darya River in 2007. Now there are more than 500 of the deer in Kazakhstan, according to Express-k.kz.

Experts of the organisation call the revival of the Tugai deer a miracle. There are already more than 2,500 deer in Central Asia now and their resettlement in the Syr Darya continues, the report said. Now, the fund aims to restore Tugai deer in the Balkhash area with the assistance of the state.

Aktan is now raising money for this project, which needs 160,000 euros to get started.

“This amount is necessary to prepare the territory of Balkhash for releasing the deer. The first 400,000 roubles [US$5,491] has already been received,” the actress noted, Express-k.kz reported.

Aktan is popular in Russia, having starred in the “Gromovy. Dom Nadezhdy” series; the “Vyzhit Posle” and “Vyzhit Posle 2” (“Survive Afterwards,” “Survive Afterwards 2”) apocalyptic series; and the films “Virtualnaya Lyubov” (“Virtual Love”), “Serdtse Moe, Astana” (“Astana, My Heart”) and “Piraniy” (“Piranhas”), according to NewTimes.kz.

THE ASTANA TIMES