Wetland Pearls at the Source of Irtysh River
The Irtysh River, the second largest river in Xinjiang, originates from Keketuohai on the southwest slope of the Altay Mountains. In the upper reach, the Kayierte River and Kuyierte River run through the Geopark and converge at the Ilaymu Lake, giving birth to the magnificent Irtysh River. It flows out of China from southeast to northwest and finally flows into the Arctic Ocean. It is the only river in China that leads to the Arctic Ocean. A large number of river wetlands, lake wetlands, and marshy wetlands have been formed along the Irtysh River. Among them, Ilaymu Lake and Kekesuli are the most spectacular pearls, harboring a diverse number of rare animals and plants, including 118 species of wild plants and 143 species of wild animals. They are a paradise for birds, fish, and amphibians to inhabit and breed here. They are a transfer station and a necessary stop for migratory birds migrating south from the Middle East and Central Asia and their first destination upon entering China. Additionally, they are valuable ecological assets and germplasm gene banks of the country, as well as an important water source and ecologically sensitive region in northwest China and even the world.
Keketuohai National Geopark
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