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Bird Migration in Central Asia


Trance Border Bird Migration and their Role in Avian Influenza Causative Agent and Heavy Metals Transfer and Spread in Central Asia

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-OTH/Other/Biotechnology
  • AGR-DIS/Disease Surveillance/Agriculture
  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment
  • ENV-WPC/Water Pollution and Control/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Biology and Pedology, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

Supporting institutes

  • Tajik Research Institute of Preventive Medicine, Tajikistan, Dushanbe


  • Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften / Konrad-Lorenz-Institut für Vergleichende Verhaltensforschung, Austria, Vienna\nUS Geological Survey, USA, VA, Reston\nInternational University of Health and Welfare, Japan, Tochigi

Project summary

Goal of the project - studying the role of migrating birds in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) in transboundary carrying of heavy metals and causative agents of avian influenza and other diseases, also the development of preventive measures for reduction the risk of these diseases distribution.

Urgency: The migratory way connecting places of birds nesting in Western Siberia, Altai and Kazakhstan with places of winterings in India, Pakistan, Africa and China passes through the territory of Central Asian Republics (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan). The density of flight is high. There are 300-310 species of migrating birds there. The number of birds of a flight amounts to hundreds of thousands in spring and millions in autumn. According to some data, during a night more than 30000 birds including about 600 ducks fly by the foothills of the Talas ridge at the height of one kilometer (Gistsov, 1990). Many birds stay on the territory of Central Asian Republics (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) to take a rest in spring, and especially, in autumn. For example, moorfowl uses reservoirs for rest and feedings during seasonal migrations. Tens of thousands of birds of 10-15 species can be on some reservoirs. All this creates favorable circumstances for migration of the influenza virus and chemical elements between populations (heavy metals), and kinds of infection of domestic animals and people. Poultry is kept on many reservoirs, therefore the risk of their infection is high enough.

Studying of ornithofauna (birds) is important for natural and anthropogenous ecosystems, heavy metals transfer, being the least studied. Transboundary migrations of birds are a global process promoting the exchange of significant amounts of heavy metals between different regions and continents. Huge amounts of waste of mining industry with high contents of heavy metals and some potentially dangerous chemical elements and their compounds are stored in waste and tailing dumps on the territory of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (for example, about 600 million ì3 is on the territory of Kyrgyzstan). The state of these waste and tailing dumps is so terrible, that heavy metals and toxic substances pollute the environment (soil, air, water) and alive organisms. They are involved in biogeochemical cycles with formation of new biogeochemical provinces.

Study and monitoring the transfer of diseases causative agents, including dangerous for people and farm animals, together with ecto- and endoparasites, by migrating birds, is especially important. Migrating birds stop for taking a rest and if carry causative agents, they can become a source of infection on big territories. Nowadays, in connection with numerous cases of avian influenza in different countries of the world, studying of ways of transfer and the role of migrating birds in carrying viruses-causative agents of this disease becomes a vital problem for physicians and biologists.

Studying of transboundary migrations of birds and their role in carrying elements and causative agents is extremely important in the conditions of high concentration of the population in valleys and intermountain hollows of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (Central Asian Republics), Western Siberia, Altai and places of winterings in India, Africa and China.

The project aims at solving scientific and practical problems by weapon scientists engaged in basic researches directed on solving of especially peaceful tasks (real ecological situation in the region, continent and its predictive estimate).

Research tasks:

  1. To establish the places of mass gathering of migrating birds in Central Asian Republics (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan), first of all, of water and peri-water birds, hens as the most probable carriers of the avian influenza.
  2. To determine the quantitative and qualitative structure of migrating birds and to find out territorial contacts in Central Asia.
  3. Ornithological, virologic and biogeochemical estimation of migrating birds, and also sucking ecto- and endoparasites of birds and wild animals on infection with avian influenza and heavy metals.
  4. To develop the system of base monitoring (parasitological, microbiological, virologic and biogeochemical researches) on the basis of definition of mass occurrence of various kinds of birds, time of occurrence and periodicity.
  5. To develop preventive measures promoting prevention from the spread of avian influenza causative agents and heavy metals.
  6. To develop recommendations on reduction of the risk of spreading and infection of people, animals and poultry by avian influenza causative agents and heavy metals.

Expected results and their application:
  • Mass places of gathering of migrating birds on the territory of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will be established;
  • Qualitative (identification up to species) and quantitative structure of migrating birds will be determined;
  • Definition of infection of migrating birds and wild animals by causative agents of avian influenza and heavy metals;
  • Determination of a system of monitoring of gathering tests for duly parasitologic, microbiological, virologic and biogeochemical researches;
  • Prophylaxis measures preventing the spread and infection by avian influenza and heavy metals will be developed;

Recommendations on reduction in risk of distribution and infection by avian influenza causative agents and heavy metals will be developed.

Participants of the project are weapon scientists, broad specialists in various areas of biology, environment protection and medicine. There are scientific methodical bases and some publications worked over enough:

  • Gavrilov E.I., Abdysalyamov I.A. Core results and prospects of studying of birds migrations in Central Asian-West Siberian region // Migrations of birds in Asia. Ashkhabad. 1990, p.7-22.
  • Gistsov A.P. Supervision of birds night flight in Western Òyan-Shang in October, 1980 // Migrations of birds in Asia. Ashkhabad. 1990. P.186.
  • Djenbaev B.M., Ermakov V.V. The ecology-biogeochemical parameters of urban environment (for example, cities Bishkek and Osh) // Proceedings Kyrgyz-Turkey university, - Bishkek, 2002. – P. 36-49.
  • Djenbaev B.M., Kadyrova B.K. Heavy metals in organisms of some animals of Kyrgyzstan // Bulletin ÊSNU, 1999. - P.54-58.
  • Djenbaev B.M., Ermakov V.V., Degtarev A.P. Ecologo-biogeochemical regioning of Russia // The Proceedings volume "Trase elements in man and animals-TEMA-8". - Dresden. 1993.P.428-429.
  • Kydyraliev F.K. Birds of lakes and mountain rivers of Kirgizia. Frunze, 1990. 232 pp.
  • Lvov Ä.Ê., Ilyichev V.D. Migration of birds and infections causative agents transfer. - Ì.: Nauka, 1979. - P. 270.

The project promotes modern development in the field of researches for peaceful purposes, and the results will be applied in solving urgent problems of fundamental and applied sciences. Researches will be conducted in Central Asian republics (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan).

The project concerns to area of fundamental applied researches. Carried out researches will allow to develop methodical recommendations for ecological, biological and medical estimation of natural technogenic regions (continents) and provinces on the problems of biology, medicine, veterinary science and ecology, and also to prepare proposals on the theme of the project for realization on the territory of other states and continents, to develop measures on reduction in migration and in the risk of infection by the disease causative agents (viruses of the avian influenza) and heavy metals.

Results of the project can be used by medical, agricultural and other institutions for carrying out regional monitoring and correction of unfavorable situations.

After finishing the project inhabitants of these countries (regions and subregions) will receive a real picture about the condition of their inhabitancy (biopersity of migrating birds, viruses and heavy metals), corresponding recommendations for their improvement.

Results of the project can be used in the Ministry of Ecology, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defense and research institutions of the countries - participants. Thus, the expected benefit of the project is high and it is very difficult to estimate it quantitatively.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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