|Area||14,000 km2 (5,400 sq mi)|
The Taxkorgan Reserve is a Chinese Nature Reserve, which is situated in the Pamir and Karakorum Mountains in Xinjiang. It covers about 14,000 km² was established in 1984 mainly to protect the rare Marco Polo sheep.
Landscape and vegetation
The reserve is situated in westernmost China in the border area to Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan. Half of its size is above 4,500 m and encompasses the northern edge of the Karakorum, the western edge of the Kunlin and the eastern offshoots of the Paimr mountains. To the south the reserve is bordering Khunjerab National Park in Pakistan. Most of the landscape is dominated by open, alpine vegetation. Trees are only present in some valleys below 3,400 m.
The reserve is home to three wild ungulate species. The most prominent is the Marco Polo sheep. In the 1980s there were about 150 of these large wild sheep in the reserve. Today, the population has increased to about 1,000 animals. The other two ungulate species are the Siberian ibex and the blue sheep. Another ungulate, which was present originally in the area is the kiang. Large predators are represented by snow leopard, wolf and brown bear. About 7,750 people with 70,000 domestic animals inhabit the reserve. The livestock has a strong impact on the reserves vegetation.
During 2011-2013, the Tien Shan dholes (Cuon alpinus hesperius) have been spotted by the local people in the reserve.
- George B. Schaller, Li Hong Talipu, Lu Hua, Ren Junrang, Qiu Mingjiang, Wang Haibin: Status of Large Mammals in the Taxkorgan Reserve, Xinjiang, China. Biological Conservation 42 (1987), 53–71.
- George B. Schaller and Aili Kang (2008) Status of Marco Polo sheep Ovis ammon polii in China and adjacent countries: conservation of a Vulnerable subspecies. Oryx Vol 42 No 1, 2008