Aggyol Lake is the most famous steppe lake ecosystem in Azerbaijan an oasis for the thousands of birds that breed, rest during migration or come from the north for winter time.
The first attempt to protect the lake was taken in February 1964 when a sanctuary was established here in an area of 9173 hectares.
In March 1978 the water body of the lake was given a status of a strictly protected reserve, the area of which accounted for 4400 hectares. Since July 2003 Aggyol Lake has become a national park, the area of which was extended up to 17924 hectares.
The objective in establishing the National Park is to ensure the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems and endangered species as well as carrying out environmental monitoring, education and ecotourism.
In the past, the lake was the part of the huge floodplain in the Kura lowland. Now, it is the part of the complex irrigation system which was established after the construction of the Mingachevir Water Reservoir. Aggyol is a shallow lake with brackish waters the depth of which ranges from 0, 5 to 2, 5 m. It is surrounded by a broad belt reed beds.
As a typical steppe lake its water level declines during the hot season reaching the lowest point in the late summer. The National Park area encompasses not only wetlands but also adjacent typical steppe and semi-desert landscapes.
The main reason for the protecting the lake system is its international significance as a refuge for endangered bird species included in the IUCN “Red List” and the “Red Data Book” of Azerbaijan Republic.
These are lesser white-fronted goose, white-headed duck, marbled duck, ferruginous duck, little bustard, little comorant, as well as flamingoes, pelicans, all 7 species of herons and a variety of species of ducks, geese, rails, waders and others. For at least 3 species Aggyol comprises up to 10 percent of the world’s population.
Until early 1960s goitred gazelles of Azerbaijan occurred in the steppes around the Aggyol lake. Wolf, jackal, fox, hare, a lot of bats are found here and in the reed beds there is a robust population of rare and amazing reed cat.
Visitors of the National Park can easily observe most of these animals.