Zhaling Lake

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Zhaling Lake

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    64,920 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    34°55'N 97°16'E
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Zhaling Lake. 07/12/04; Qinghai; 64,920 ha; 34º5443N 097º1629E. Nature Reserve. A unique plateau freshwater wetland at high altitude (4,273m asl) with marsh meadow and alpine vegetations, with the second largest lake in the sources of the Yellow River. As the lake is nutrient-poor and cold, only adaptive fish forms such as Gymnocypris eckloni, Platypharodon extremus, Chuanchia labiosa, and Gymnodiptychus pachycheiluare developed, which gives the site a high level of fish endemism. The site is home to the endangered Saker Falcon Falco cherrug, the vulnerable Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis, and Wild Yak Bos mutus. The swamp area is a breeding and roosting habitat of other common waterbirds such as the Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna Ferruginea and the Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus. The culture and customs of the local Tibetan people help to protect this wetland ecosystem, as Tibetans have a custom of not eating fish, considering it a symbol of God, while considering the birds as a symbol of good luck. Following a sharp decline of natural fish stock due to over-harvesting in the late 1980s, the exhausted stock was replenished through adoption of a local conservation plan that prevented over-fishing. Currently, glacier retreat and the rise of snowline caused by climate change are reducing water supply to the wetland. Ramsar site no. 1442. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Administrative region: 
Qinghai Province

  • National legal designation: 
    • Provincial Nature Reserve
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

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