The Alakol reserve covers 193,089 hectares, including wetlands of world significance. It is an important Indian bird migration route, a water bird habitat and aggregation site. The bird population includes the rare Dalmatian Pelican (Pelicanus crispus) and Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), both of which are endangered. The Reserve is home to 678 species of plants, six of which are endemic. The local economy is based mainly on agriculture and cattle breeding.