Khomyn Tal is located in Great Lakes depression of western Mongolia, a unique ecosystem with diverse habitat dominated by desert steppe and arid steppe biotas with critical wetlands including Khar nuur, Baganuur, Durgon lakes and Zavkhan and Teel rivers as well as sand dunes in Western end of Ikh Mongol Els. It is geographically isolated 2900 km2 island surrounded by inter-connected lakes, rivers from west through north to eastern part and 20-40 km wide sand dunes along the southern border.




As such an island, it is a safe home for many species of wildlife if their food resources are sufficient. In some cases, it might stand as the last refuge of wild animal. For example; 200 individuals of Mongolian gazelle were translocated into Khomyn tal from Eastern Mongolia after a sharp decline in number and distribution range of Western population occurred in the 1980th. Hence, the population has been greatly increased up from hundreds to thousands with extended distribution area outside the Great lakes depression. 

Since 2004, the world endangered species of Przewalski’s horses that was extinct in the wild are also in return to Khomyn tal through an integrated conservation effort to increase the value of regional biodiversity. In result, most populations are in increase while some threatened, recently disappeared species such as Saiga antelope and Pelicans are coming back to Khomyn tal. Especially, the enclosed reintroduction site of “Seeriin Nuruu” Local Protected Area situated in eastern part of Khomyn tal became a favorable habitat for wildlife. Since pasture condition is improved, biodiversity richness is duly increased up in newly grown forest of willows and Seabuckthorn along Zavkhan riverbed and wildlife population is also increasing year by year.     

Totally, 46 mammals found in Khomyn tal, 7 of which are listed on World’s and National Red lists. It includes Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus Przewalskii), Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica), Black-tailed gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), Saiga antelope (Saiga borealis), Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa), Wild boar (Sus scrofa nigripes) are permanent while Snow leopard (Uncia uncia) occasionally found in northern mountains to Khomyn tal.

Przewalski's horse

Daurian pika


Long eared hedgedog


Pallid ground squirrel

Mongolian gazelle

Mongolian hamster

141 species of bird recorded in Khomyn tal

Khomyn tal is rich in bird diversity as many of waterfowls, raptors and steppe birds can be found. The lakes of Khar nuur, Durgon and Baganuur and the rivers of Zavkhan and Teel are major area for water birds. A small lake named Baganauur is listed on Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International in 2005.

45 out of 141 bird species are registered on global, national or regional red lists.

Bar headed Goose

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Great Cormorant

Dalmatian Pelican

Little Owl

Eurasian Spoonbill

Black winged Stilt

Cinereous Vulture


Six dominant vegetation of xeric types (hard steppe, Psammochloa villosa comm, speargrass sand steppe, foothill steppe, wormwood steppe, rocky hill comm) in Khomyn tal cover 88.86% of the entire land. The eponym is predominated in vast community of Psammochloa villosa, whereas Stipa glareosa/gobica predominant among other significant species cover of remaining five vegetation types. The mesic vegetation types (reed bed, wet riverbed meadow, elymus sand steppe) made of 11.14% of Khomyn tal area mainly dispersed in water table or lake shores.

Stipa glareosa is a dominant grass of plain whereas a similar species of Stipa gobica found in desert steppe community near Seer Mountain in the east, both of which have the highest nutrition among others.    

Vegetation communities

    1. Desert steppe (dominated by Anabasis brevifolia, Reaumura soongorica)
    2. Reaumura steppe with Artemisia Klementzae (R. soongorica, Artemisia klementzae)
    3. Sand-steppe with stipa: (Stipa glareosa, Artemisia klementzae, A. xerophytica)
    4. Sand-steppe with Psammochloa (Psammochloa villosa – Artemisia klementzae)
    5. Mountain steppe (Caragana leucophlea, Eurotia ceratoides, Stipa glareosa)
    6. Rocky hill community
    7. Sand-steppe with Elymus: (Elymus paboanus, P. Sibiricum)
    8. Riverbed community: (Calamogrostis epigeos, Carex duriuscula)
    9. Reedbed community (Phragmites communis)

134 species of plants are registered in Khomyn tal.

Hippophae rhamnoides

Psammochloa villosa

Astragalus mongolicus

Thermopsis mongolica

Bassia dasiphylla

Allium mongolicum

Artemisia xerophytica

Iris lactea



KTNP shows a great complexity of landscape diversity including wetlands, sand dunes, mountain and desert steppes and riparian forest.

Rocky mountains

Desert steppe with Psammochloa villosa

Riparian forest


Mountain steppe

Sand dune