Listening to the herding community in Kyrgyzstan

An important part of the SIBELIUs project involves working with herders at selected case study sites to understand their requirements for information about pasture and to ensure their voices and priorities are heard in the development and distribution of new satellite-derived environmental products.

During February and March 2020, Batbuyan Batjav from CNPS and Aibek Karabaev from Mercy Corps conducted fieldwork at the project’s two test sites where they interviewed people from 201 herding households.

Batbuyan Batjav took many photographs during the fieldwork, which show life in the farming and herding communities and highlight many of the issues relating to pasture. In the following photographs the Ak Muz and Kazybek villages are in the At Bashy raion in the Naryn oblast, while the Ak Bashat and Jayyl villages are both from the Jayyl raion in the northern oblast of Chuy.

Yak grazing near Ak Muz village. Yak are very hardy animals and provide increased resilience for herding families.
The Ak Muz Pasture Committee office.
A traditional Kyrgyz Taigan hunting dog.
Melting snow provides a large percentage of the water needed for herding. Many herders are reporting that lower levels of snow are leading to water shortages.
On the move with livestock.
Horses are often used for transport in Kyrgyzstan.
A herd on snowy pasture near Ak Muz village.
These animals will typically feed on hay in the morning and out on the pasture in the afternoon.
Two camels in a winter field.
The head of the Kazybek Pasture Committee.
A key part of winter preparations involves storing sufficient hay for the animals. At Ak Bashat village.
Pasture Committees often commission work to improve infrastructure, particularly regarding roads and bridges.
Water from the mountains is used to irrigate hayfield pasture.
Livestock and winter forage, the key element for surviving the winter.
Moving from one grazing area to another.
A cultivated field in early spring outside Jayyl village.
When Batbuyan and Aibek were working in the southern Naryn region, they stayed in a hotel in the Naryn city, which is long and thin, being sandwiched between two mountain ranges.