Valley of Onon - Balj rivers

Surface area: 104,841 ha
Elevation: 860-1,385 m

Protection status: Partially protected by Onon-Balj National Park.

Site description: The site comprises the two major rivers, Onon and Balj of Dadal soum, tributary of Galttai River, Ikh and Baga Tsagaan Lakes, Khurkhree Lake, Agats River valley and their tributaries. Coniferous and broadleaf forests, bushes and wild berry shrubs are abundant at the site. The site provides good habitats for birds to nest, oversummer and overwinter, stopover during migration, because it supports various steppe biotopes with rocky cliffs, medium-sized rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, valleys and rolling hills. The land of the site never used for agriculture and the major uses of land is livestock grazing and hay making. Tourism has started rapidly growing based on natural landscapes and historical sites. The major threat at the site is wildfire that occurs every year.

Importance for birds: Globally and nationally threatened bird species such as Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides), Baikal Teal (Anas Formosa), Pallas’s Fisheagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus),  Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga), Eastern Imperial Eagle (A. heliacal), Lesser Kestrel (F. naumanni), Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus),  White-naped Crane (G.vipio), Hooded Crane (G. monacha) and Great Bustard (Otis tarda) regularly occur at the site. The northern coniferous forest biome can be found at the site.  Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo) and Common Crane (Grus grus) are gather in flocks, exceeding 1% of their flyway populations.

Special flora and fauna: Mammal species such as European Elk (Alces alces), Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus Linnaeus), Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), Siberian Roe Deer (Capreolus pygargus), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), European badger (Meles meles), Lynx (Felis lynx) and Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) occur at the site. Rare fish species include Eastern Brook Lamprey (Lampetra reissneri), Amur Sturgeon (Acipenser schrenckii), Chadary (Coregonus chadary), Haitej Sculpin (Mesocottus haitej) and Alpine Bullhead (Cottus Poecilopus) live here.

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