About bats and COVID-19 by Heliana Dundarova

Heliana Dundarova, PhD, an expert in bat studies; a scientist at IBER-BAS (Bulgaria) and a guest researcher at Osh State University (Kyrgyzstan) during field work

Bats (order Chiroptera) are the second largest order of mammals (1411 species). They are the only mammals capable of flying actively, which allowed them to be globally distributed. In general, flight has led to high refinement of order Chiroptera, and orientation through echolocation, which allows them navigate in reduced visibility environments. In-flight body temperature rises, which speeds up their metabolism and puts their bodies in a constant state of high fever. The temperature varies from 38 to 41 °C. This type of energy production and consumption is huge and intolerable for other mammals. High energy potential leads to the release of huge amount of free radicals, which damage DNA molecules and kill the cells of mammals. However, this does not happen to bats and scientists have found out why. They have a mutation which accelerates the cell’s ability to find and repair damaged DNA molecules. In addition, their cellular mechanism practically does not allow the damaged cells to multiply, as is the case with all other mammals, and cancer is rare.

The colony of Rhinolophus lepidus in the mine

In all mammals, the immune system triggers a group of signaling proteins called interferons. When a virus enters a cell, interferons produce signals to warn the other cells to activate their antiviral mechanism and prevent the virus from further multiplying. In bats, interferons are constantly activated and there is no mechanism to switch them off and thus they constantly control the viruses. Therefore, extreme energy production, high body temperature, mechanisms for the rapid recovery of damaged DNA, and the specific immune system make bats a suitable reservoir of different types of RNA viruses. These viruses are adapted to the dynamic cellular life of their hosts as well as to bats. RNA viruses from bats cannot be transmitted directly to humans because their fine-tuning requires other organisms (intermediate hosts) in which the cells viruses adapt to the final host. Similar examples from the recent past are SARS-CoV coronaviruses and the MERS-CoV virus. In 2002, SARS-CoV caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and has affected about 30 countries, of which, for 800 people, the outcome was lethal. It is established that similar coronaviruses are carried from bats but the infection to people did not happen directly. The source of the infection is civets, a species of rare predator that is sold freely to markets in China. The virus has long been spread by the intermediate host in Chinese markets.

In 2012, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) appeared. The intermediate hosts are camels, who have been carrying the coronavirus for about 30 years. MERS caused an epidemic in the Arabian Peninsula, about 2000 people were infected, and the death rate was 50%. The scenario for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 syndrome, is similar. The virus genome is most similar to the CoV RaTG13 coronavirus known from the intermediate horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus affinis), which inhabits the Yunnan province, China and Southeast Asia. The virus binding receptor at the intermediate horseshoe bat and other horseshoe bats cannot directly bind to the human ACE2 receptor located on the outside of the lung cells. There was a tuning time (mutation) period in the intermediate host that took years to separate SARS-CoV-2.

The Horseshoe Bat – Rhinolophus ferrumequinum

Globally, mammalian organisms, including humans, are full of different corona-viruses. They are divided into specific groups, and interspecific transmission is extremely rare, since the virus must adapt to the specific cellular receptor of the final host. Therefore, direct transmission from bat to human with SARS-CoV-2 is excluded.

Bats are the natural “biopesticides” on Earth. Globally, one bat consumes a huge amount of the known pests on forests and farmlands such as the insect pests on coniferous plantations, cereals and fruit orchards. Bats regulate the numbers of the Greater Wax Moth; whose larvae are parasites on beehives.

The Lesser Mouse-eared Bat – Myotis blythii – species widely distributed in Eurasia

Many bat species control the mosquito populations, which are the main reservoir and vector of Zika, Yellow fever and Dengue. One bat colony can eat about 100 tons of insects per night.

The danger does not come from bats or other animals, but from the human beings. People penetrate into previously virgin places, destroy natural habitats at unimaginable speeds, and move quickly from one to another point of the world. All this allows pathogens to overcome the interspecies barriers that previously prevented them from emerge and spill-over uncontrollably.

References:

Simmons N. B. 2005. Order Chiroptera. In: Wilson, D. E., Reeder, D. M., editors. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. 3rd ed. Baltimore (MD): The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 312-52

Kristian G. Andersen, Andrew Rambaut, W. Ian Lipkin, Edward C. Holmes, Robert F. Garry. The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2. Nature Medicine, 2020; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0820-9

Zhou, P., Yang, X., Wang, X. et al. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Nature, 2020; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7

Ji, W., Wang, W., Zhao, X., Za, J., Li, X. Cross-species transmission of the newly identified coronavirus 2019-nCoV. Journal of Medical Virology, 2020; https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.25682

Mountains of Central Asia as a touristic destination by Sergey Toropov

Summer day in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan
Mountains around Chon-Kemin River, Kyrgyzstan

The majestic mountain systems of Dzhungar, Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai, ridges covered with dazzling white glaciers, and emerald meadows of mountain valleys with sapphire eyes of lakes, seething streams and waterfalls of fast mountain rivers carrying their crystal waters into deserts, languishing from the heat. All this diversity of ecological landscapes and climatic zones is the “Mecca” for tourists, scientists and travelers to Central Asia!

Issyk-Kul Lake is one of the largest mountain lakes in the world

Summer in mountains of Kyrgyzstan

Abandoned field before rain

Such a variety of natural landscapes creates unique conditions for the numerous representatives of the animal world, including many insects, the vivid representatives of which are butterflies – natural flowers of nature. More than 300 species of diurnal butterflies live in various ecosystems of Central Asia. Attracting magnets of this region are species such as swallowtails Parnassius loxias, an inhabitant of the rocky canyons of the Central Tien Shan in the Sary-Jaz river basin, and Parnassius autocrator, which is the dream of any lepidopterologist, the inhabitant of screes among the rocky massifs of the Pamirs. The habitats of these two species of Apollo butterflies are very local and almost inaccessible. In 2006, the entomological world was shocked by a sensation. In the unexplored places of the Inner Tien Shan, in the system of the Moldo-Too ridge, a new species of Apollo was described by the Russian entomologist S. Churkin. It was named as Parnassius davydovi. This is the first such discovery in a hundred years.

Papilio apollo merzbacheri, Kichi-Kemin, Kyrgyzstan

In addition to the 18 species of Apollos, occurring in this region, 14 species of “sulphurs” butterflies (Colias) are of particular interest to travelers – entomologists. Not one region of the world has such a diversity of species of this genus. Entomologists can find in the region the carrot-scarlet Colias draconis, an inhabitant of the steppe slopes of the Western Tien Shan, and the scarlet fiery red Colias regia, the endemic of Tien Shan. Other species include unusually painted in the ash-brown tones Colias christophi helialaica is an inhabitant of the Alai mountain range, persistently closed by fogs and the legendary, very rare Colias erschoffi, an inhabitant of the harsh middle mountains of the Dzhungar Range.

The fiery red blue-butterfly from Lycaenidae family –  Thersamonia solskyi attila – inhabits the mountain systems of eastern Alai. Endemic blues Plebejus lycaenidae with brilliant eyes on the lower wings inhabit buckthorn bushes along the banks of mountain rivers. Numerous species from satyr family – Hyponephele, Pseudochazara, Chazara, Karanasa and other satyrs inhabit dry foothills and high mountain steppes of various ranges.

All this sparkling and shimmering in the sun variety of diurnal butterflies cannot leave indifferent ecological tourists, entomologists and respectable scientists who are happy to plunge into the world of butterflies, during visits of Central Asia.

And when the daytime colors fade, the more modestly colored representatives of the night butterflies begin to dance near the daylight lamps. These are the nimble owlet moths (Noctuidae) with interesting genus Cuculia and swift hawk-moths with a rare species of Rhethera komarovi, and of course the peacock-eyed Neoris that amazes everyone with their large eye-spots on wings. Brightly colored tiger-moths inhabit high mountain valleys. Almost all species of this group of butterflies are endemic to Central Asia, including such genera and species as Oroncus, Acerbia, Arctia ruckbeili and numerous representatives of Palearctia genus.

This natural variety of mountain landscapes is inhabited by 318 breeding bird species. Besides, another 108 bird species appear in the region during migrations and wintering. Many birdwatchers have been attracted to the region by opportunity to observe such species as Ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii), an inhabitant of pebble floodplains of high mountain rivers. Other species of particular interest are a large Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus hemachalanus), with a wingspan of about three meters, which makes nests in niches of inaccessible cliffs, and tiny White-browed Tit-warbler (Leptopoecile sophiae) with sapphire plumage, a small inhabitant of juniper dwarf. During trip to mountain valleys tourists will have chance to spot the cautious Pallas’s Sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus), nesting in rocky deserts along the shores of the beautiful Issyk-Kul Lake, a rare high-altitude bird Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus pamirensis), alpine White-winged Snowfinch (Montifringilla nivalis alpicola), flashing when flying with snow-white wings, and the legendary Blue Whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus turcestanicus), with an amazing flute song, competing with the roar of the waterfall.

Posing rufous-naped tit
Rufous-naped Tit
Bright male of white-browed tit-warbler
White-browed Tit-warbler

Of the 86 species of mammals that live in Kyrgyzstan, the most famous is the fabulous Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia), a resident of rocky gorges. Snow leopards prey on unsurpassed mountain climbers – Ibexes (Capra sibirica), with horns reaches one-and-a-half-meter size. The Marco Polo Argali (Ovis ammon polii) also occur in high mountain valleys, whose horns are also not small. In older males, the length of the horn can reach 165 centimeters. A very beautiful and rare Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul) also lives on the alpine wet meadows (“syrts”).

Preparing to hunt...
Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis) in Kegety, Kyrgyzstan

Exploring Wildlife in Ottawa Area

Ottawa is located on the border between Canadian Shield and Mixwood Plains ecological zones. This location defines its relatively rich biodiversity. Species occurring in the northern Canadian (Ontario) Shield Ecozone and Southern Mixwood Plain Ecozone can be found here, often in the same habitats.

Moose (Alces alces) and White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Ottawa Valley 

 

Ontario Shield Ecozone is associated with Precambrian Shield, which occupies approximately 60% of Ontario stretching from the Hudson Bay Lowlands to the Thousand Islands area on the south. The shield is represented by the limestone bedrock which forms specific landscapes with rock outcrops and alvars grown by coniferous forests with Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea), Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) and Tamarack (Larix laricina) on the north and mixed and deciduous forests with Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) and North-American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) on south. All these forest types can be found in Ottawa Valley and in the Ottawa Greenbelt.  The area is abundant with lakes and rivers; many wetlands are shaped in the result of beaver activity. Although there are some extracting industries in this area, such as mining, logging and hydro-energy, it is relatively intact and still keeps the core diversity typical for the boreal forest and taiga biomes.  

Mixwood Plains Ecozone occupies only 10% from the total area of Ontario, but it has the densest human population and the area is heavily developed in the result of human activity. It is located on the limestone to south of the Precambrian Shield and bounded by three large Great lakes – Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River. The area, especially in its northern and eastern parts, is mostly flat. Many flat plains are developed for agricultural production, creating conditions for the movement of some southern prairies and grassland species to the north. Two major rivers – Ottawa and St. Lawrence – form their watersheds in this area with diverse wetlands and rich species diversity. Vegetation is very diverse and presented both coniferous and deciduous trees.  Carolinian forests are grown on the south of this zone; tolerant hardwood forests are represented mostly on the north and in the areas around Ottawa. The most typical trees of this Ecozone growing around Ottawa are coniferous such as a White (Pinus strobus) and Red pines (Pinus resinosa), Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virgniana), Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis), and deciduous such as a Sugar (Acer saccharum), Red (A. rubrum), Striped (A. pensylvanicum) and Silver (A. saccharinum) maples, Red (Quercus rubra) and White (Q. alba) oaks, American (Ulmus americana) and Slippery (U. rubra) elms, Yellow (Betula alleghaniensis) and Paper birches, Eastern Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), Butternut (J. cinerea), Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides), Balsam Poplar (P. balsamifera), Basswood (Tilia americana), Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis) and others. In spite of development and expanding of urbanization, only about 1.5% of this ecozone is protected. In this eco-zone, many areas, unique landscapes and habitats need urgent protection, because they become isolated in human-created “matrix” and fragmented by growing road network. Road corridors create conditions for dispersal of exotic alien species, which replace native species and form the new environment.   

Animal species diversity in Ottawa valley is relatively high, because species belonging to both – Canada Shield and Mixwood Plain ecozones – occur in this area. In spite of human activity, many species well adapted and live in close human neighborhood. Some of them sometimes create tiny problems for local gardeners. Some species are well preserved since the time when this area was not developed. Another species has been dispersed relatively recently. For example, a White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) spread to the north, because evident climate change and created favorable conditions for this species in open mixed woods altering with farms, which provide rich harvest of herbs. Other species, such as an American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), opposite, moves to the south and compete with an Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) for habitats in the towns and greenbelts. Bird feeders placed along trails ensure feeding for both squirrel species; therefore, their populations in the cities and around cities are flourishing.  Groundhogs (Marmota monax), Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) and raccoons (Procyon lotor), Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) and other mammals in some degree benefited from urban development and established successful urban populations, which survive in suburban areas and in the city parks. However, roads provide limiting barriers for many mammal species and their dispersal to the new areas is often impossible. Bird species in Ottawa Valley are diverse and abundant; but their composition usually change with seasons. Diverse reptile and amphibian species are also well represented. The diversity of invertebrates and especially insects is large in the southern regions; In the northern regions, several species of bloodsucking insects can be very numerous in the summer, creating certain inconveniences for visiting these places.

The Ottawa region is attractive for any naturalist, who interested to know more about wildlife in Canada. Any season here is fascinating. However, perhaps, late spring – the end of May and the beginning of June, as well as autumn – the end of September – the beginning of October – are most attractive to naturalists, since it is in these seasons that one can observe a greater number of species, flowering “festivals” and bright autumn colors.

 

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030)

Pandemics of Corona-virus showed the vulnerability of our human civilization to natural disasters and unpredictable events. Definitely, in the face of real danger, all of humanity has come together and is developing an ethics of communication both locally and internationally. We are all passengers on the same ship, called Earth, accelerating toward the future. We all understand that our future depends on mutual assistance and support.

The quarantine started in this uneasy time also gave opportunity to sort out urgent and not too much matters. Finally, we had chance to read and think about Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly for 2021-2030 in accordance with its Resolution A/RES/73/284. The resolution calls for support efforts to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide and raise awareness of the importance of ecosystem restoration.

Indeed, lack of awareness and understanding of biodiversity values for sustainable development have been recognized as a one of the main barriers on the way to restoration. The Strategy of UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is presented on the UN website, inviting all interesting stakeholders to take a part in discussion: https://www.decadeonrestoration.org/get-involved/strategy

Any organization or indifferent citizen may take part in the open consultation and review of the Strategy for the Decade and its Communication Strategy and provide feedback through the submission section below on the overall document or specific sections. The deadline for the submission of feedback is April 30, 2020.

Following to the instructions on the website you can provide your comments and suggestions to both documents or to be engaged in the consultation process.

The UN invite you to review The Decade’s Strategy “aims to foster a restoration culture in which restoration initiatives start and scale up across the planet, by establishing a global movement, improving the political will of the Member States and other actors, and by enhancing the capacity for designing, implementing and sustaining ecosystem restoration initiatives”.

Ottawa Greenbelt: “for people and nature”

These days the parking places to most trails in Greenbelt of Ottawa are closed due to pandemics of COVID-19. But we hope that with summer time the normal life will return and all interested people may enjoy the beauty of nature in the National Capital Region…

The unique Ottawa Greenbelt creates specific atmosphere in the Canadian capital and makes it one of the greenest, “environmentally friendly” and attractive city in North America. The Greenbelt idea was proposed by Jacques Gréber (1882-1962), architect specialized in landscape architecture and urban design, as a part of his master plan for Ottawa in 1950. The land for greenbelt was partly expropriated, partly bought and partly donated by owners of farms located in this area. At present, the Greenbelt covers about 204 square kilometers of lands within the present boundaries of Ottawa from Shirley’s Bay in the west to Green’s Creek in the east. Most part of the area (149 square kilometers) is owned and managed by the National Capital Commission (NCC); other land belongs to federal government[1].  The purpose of greenbelt establishment directed to prevent urban sprawl and provide open space for development of farms, natural areas and government campuses. Greenbelt surrounded Ottawa in the time of its establishment; however, after joining of several urban and rural municipalities and formation of city Ottawa in its current boundaries the greenbelt “moved” inside of the city, where it forms the green arc with numerous recreation areas.  It is considered currently as one of the largest urban parks in the world. And, who knows? Perhaps, it serves as a model for future landscape architecture of the environmentally friendly urban settlements under scenarios of adaptive management development of human societies, where highly industrialized civilization neighboring with green spaces and caring about wildlife…

Ottawa Greenbelt: Source: NCC, 2019

More information about Greenbelt and places of interest you can find here

At present, the greenbelt area comprised by forests, wetlands and traditional fields, provides immense opportunities for recreational activity within a city. This area is used for farming, forestry, research and conservation.  Successful location of greenbelt creates the “green” islands for the dispersal of wildlife, providing the connecting corridors for large number of wildlife species during migration and ensuring normal population dynamics. This belt supports also northern bird visitors during wintering, which can stay near feeders established by Ottawa Field Naturalist Club, other environmental groups and citizens.  The greenbelt provides the presence of breeding sites not only for “edge” species, but also for typical representatives of many forest and wetland ecosystems from different ecozones.

Even now, with human population of Ottawa about 900,000 people, it is difficult to find an empty trail in the greenbelt in any time of the year. With projected increase of population and its doubling after 30-40 years, the role of greenbelt for recreation will grow dramatically. Several new centers growing in Kanata, Barrhaven, Orleans, Stittsville are located beyond the greenbelt boundaries. Their infrastructure and especially new roads present the new barriers and increase isolation of wildlife habitats in the greenbelt. The further careful planning and development are very important that to keep the current level of wildlife diversity and abundance in the urban conditions. Ottawa can pioneer developing and designing the urban park concept in North America as well as in the world.  Current projects of the City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission and Nature Conservancy Canada on evaluation and analysis of the links between core natural areas provides the real base for the development of conservation plan, and, probably, for the development of urban park in Ottawa.  It is difficult to predict what we can expect after next 50 years and what kind of wildlife will survive in the urban conditions. However, it is clear that the presence of greenbelt will secure the adaptation of species to the changing environmental conditions in the process of development. The greenbelt represents the real natural and historical heritage, important not only for city, but for whole country and many Ottawa visitors. It is important to remain this land without development. Its current role as a green space will provide much more benefits to the city and citizens at present and in the future than any modern constructions, new streets and buildings. Ecological integrity is more significant that visible current economic benefits. So, we just need to think beyond the boundaries of our current believing, standards and imagination.

What you can do in the Ottawa Greenbelt?

The area of Greenbelt is designed for all kinds of recreation activities. Each designated place has the special facilities, such as comfortable outhouses, maintained trails with wooden bridges and passages in the marshy areas. Guiding maps on wooden boards at the entrance provide information about the trails, as well as about the permitted activities. If in this place you cannot walk with the dog, then a corresponding sign will be put (crossed dog sign, etc.). In places where the trails diverge, signs are usually put showing the number of the trail and where it goes. Each path has its own name. Read them carefully to avoid getting lost. Signs also show directions to parking lots and sometimes even distance to them. In each particular place of the Greenbelt there are special skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and cycling routes. Some areas are open to visitors with dogs. Some areas are open for visitors with dogs.

All sites are attractive for nature watch in different seasons and many naturalists and photographers visit sites during a year that to look for the “chronicles of nature”, inspire by beauty of changing environment or just rest observing natural things.

What is not allowed in Ottawa Greenbelt?

Any activity that can be harmful for wildlife and can damage the integrity of the Greenbelt is not allowed. It is not allowed to cut a forest, leave garbage and wastes, camp in the greenbelt, start fire, collect flowers, plants and firewood, pick up mushrooms, catch insects, hunt or capture wild animals, damage trail infrastructure, disturb animals, destroy their habitats, talk loudly or shout in the animal breeding places.

What is the best season for visit of Ottawa Greenbelt?

There is no “best” season in the Greenbelt. This area is open for recreation activity in any season and weather. However, some areas in Greenbelt are more attractive in winter. Other areas gather more visitors in spring or summer. The autumn is adorable everywhere.

[1] About the National Capital Greenbelt. The National Capital Commission. 2013.04.26

April in Ottawa area by Elena Kreuzberg

Golden-crowned kinglets arrive one of the first from winter mgrants

Yesterday it seemed that this winter would never end … The beginning of April in Ottawa, capital of Canada (known as one of the coldest capitals in the World) was accompanied by severe frosts and not only at night. Frosts were changed by heavy snowfalls. However, the first thawed patches appeared in the first decade of April. Woodpeckers drummed on dry trees, notifying everyone that spring and a time of nature rebirth were on the verge … The first skunks woke up, checking at night the availability of foodstuffs in garbage cans next to a residential houses. Those of them who live far away in the forest, do not hesitate to appear during the day, checking rodents’ holes, dug under the snow in winter, these winter pathways still kept among the old grass, and what if any of these moves leads to a living hole? The Snowshoe Hare began shedding, replacing the winter white coats on the summer brownish pelt. Mammals after a long harsh winter are not very shy; for them the cold and especially hunger are much worse than the proximity to humans. Flocks of bird migrants stretched from south to north. Canadian and snow geese arrived to the open fields and water-reservoirs among the first, some northern ducks followed them on migratory routes. With the warming other migrants will begin to arrive: migratory woodpeckers – Northern Flicker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Belted Kingfisher, passerines – wrens, swallows, vireo, sparrows, thrushes, warblers and many others…

Canada is one of the few countries where the diversity of wild species is quite large, thanks to significant little-developed areas located mainly in the north and thanks to laws that ensure the protection and sustainable use of rich wildlife resources. However, in many other countries, especially in developing countries, the situation with the protection of biological diversity is critical. Therefore, this year the International Earth Day is held under the slogan “We don’t have time”, denoting that measures to conserve wildlife should be taken now, and not in the distant future…

Striped Skunk just woke up and looking for food
Snowshoe Hares after winter

Starting our blog in April, we hope to be able to talk about Ottawa Greenbelt and other natural areas around us… We also hope to talk about biodiversity and wildlife in other countries, discussing and sharing the experience of wildlife conservation and management …

Wildlife in April

Regional Center of Expertise – Kyrgyzstan – by Chinara Sadykova

The Regional Center of Expertise, Kyrgyzstan was acknowledged on May 31, 2007 by United Nations University (Tokyo, Japan) and since that time it is listed in Global RCE Networking among 168 RCEs around the world  www.rcenetwork.org . On June 26, 2011, the RCE Kyrgyzstan was officially registered by the Ministry of Judges of Kyrgyz Republic as a Public Association of Regional Centers of Expertise on Education for sustainable development the “RCE KG”.The main goal of RCE-KG is “a Promotion of education for sustainable development in Kyrgyzstan”.  From 2007 to present RCE-KG has implemented number of projects supported by  UNESCO Kazakhstan National Office, US Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic, EURASIA Foundation in Kyrgyzstan Republic, HELVETAS Swiss Inter-cooperation, US State Department, USAID and others.

The RCE-KG cooperates with various stakeholders and partners, including  Kyryz State University named after I. Arabaev, State Agency on Environmental Protection of KG, Ministry of Education of KG, State Patent Department of KG, State Agency on Technical and Vocational Education, Bishkek Humanitarian University, Kyrgyz State University, Kyrgyz Pedagogical University, Kyrgyz Republic Children/Youth Environmental and Tourism Center, Ozone Center. The RCE Kyrgyzstan has sufficient experience of work with local communities and local people from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan due to several transboundary projects, which were carried out in the Fergana Valley.

The RCE-KG developed training workshops for promotion sustainable principles in daily life, including Training Manual for Sustainable Development at local level.  The RCE also prepared the training module for educators in high education system of Kyrgyzstan for introducing goals and principles of education for sustainable development. The NGO also carried out 10 training workshops in seven region of the Republic.

The RCE is focused on awareness raising and knowledge sharing, including implemented project on “Research of the Structure of traditional knowledge and sustainable management of Kyrgyz social and natural environment”, supported by US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan . The RCE-KG tries to analyze  and connect the historic ethnic culture of Kyrgyz people, relevant to sustainable use of natural elements and local traditional knowledge of recovery and rehabilitation of natural resources. The traditional knowledge and historic social organization of local economy (including livestock grazing in the various mountain belts during a year) could provide some useful solutions for environmental management to ensure sustainable development for future generations.  

At present, the members of RCE-KG are actively involved in several initiatives, working with partners from Kyrgyzstan and other countries to raise funds for projects relevant to environmental education, public awareness and integration of sustainable development principles in everyday life on local, national and regional levels.