The thirst for discovery and dissatisfaction with past speleological research does not leave the speleologists alone. The results of the Speleostan-2017 speleological marathon left a lot of questions and unresolved problems.
The quality of the results of the work of international groups of speleologists for three months, in several poorly studied karst areas of Kyrgyzstan, can be considered reconnaissance. In fact, after the expeditions we received only ideas about this or that region, its prospects, the necessary logistics, the further strategy of field research and the necessary equipment for further expeditions.
Analyzing the results of 2017, as well as the geography of research, we saw that the area of the research area is negligible relative to the entire promising karst area of the Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai. On the map of the actual material, it can be seen that the studies were carried out only in easily accessible places. In those where the expedition car could drive up and where it was easy to search for hidden caves that were not yet open, and on the same day return to the camp.
This tactic existed 40 years ago, when the first searches and exploration of caves were carried out. But today, technical opportunities have advanced far ahead.
We have more information and can make research more effective.
International groups of speleologists in 2017, surveyed only a small part of a fairly large limestone massifs. According to the idea - to search for caves in karst areas by exclusion, is most justified. Now we know that in certain areas there are no caves, we know the conditions in which karst is developed, but there is no prospect to find a dream cave. We excluded from the speleo search areas where we "are sure there are caves, but there are no entrances".
In 2018, research continues in highly interesting areas. The Israeli speleological expedition is set to study the Chatkal karst region in the Western Tien Shan. The cave exploratory relay race will be continued by the Spanish speleo expedition in the unknown limestone massifs of Buzbu-Too and Isfan-Jailoo in the southwest of the Tien Shan.
But apart from the ungrateful occupation in search and research expeditions, in the summer, scientists speleologists plan a unique international scientific and applied speleobiological expedition for Kyrgyzstan. Scientists biologists plan to explore the rare and unknown cave fauna of the Pamir-Alai caves. A special place is occupied by the research of rare species of bats.
International experts want to find out the reasons for the disappearance of rare animals, which are probably indicators of climate change, and perhaps victims of barbaric attitudes toward their habitats are not cultural, poorly educated tourists. According to another version, the change in the species composition of bats is due to non-professional monitoring of their migration.
No less interesting scientific expedition of geologists from Hungary, plans to continue research of hydrothermocarst processes and cave mineralogy in the famous area of Tuya-Muyun.
The joint Kyrgyz-German expedition of scientists will continue to study the paleoclimate of Central Asia in speleoformations of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
In addition, this year our Foundation expanded the geography of speleological research. In the framework of the Pamir project, a survey of karst areas of Tajikistan is planned. The project was supported by Tajik geologists and local administrations.
Tajikistan is friendly, but almost unknown from the point of view of speleological discoveries. Therefore, joint international research will allow us not only to look into the speleological perspectives, but also to establish cooperation between geologists, scientists, experts, to get acquainted with interesting people, exchange experiences and outline joint research.
The Speleostan project continues. The scientific component of the activities of the Foundation for Conservation and Research of the Caves and the results obtained will make it possible to obtain the necessary justifications for further environmental projects. Joint conclusions of foreign experts, will become the basis for implementation of applied projects on habitat conservation of rare fauna, protection of unique caves and the creation on their basis of well-equipped tourist sites.
In this connection, experts of the Foundation are sure that the only way to preserve natural values is the scientifically-based organization of infrastructure for cultural tourism visits, not only at the level of state protected areas, but also natural objects of uniqueness at the local level.
Anyone wishing to take part in the conservation and research of caves and unique natural monuments can join the project Speleostan in 2018.