Russia: Nature & Wildlife
The sheer size of Russia means that it hosts a vast array of nature and wildlife. The country is home to various landscapes and almost every habitat imaginable including mountains, rivers, seas, Arctic tundra and more. Russia contains the largest expanse of forest in the world with some 8 million square kilometres of mixed woodlands. The Russian Far East is particularly known for its nature and wildlife and is considered a biodiversity hotspot. Within this part of the country, over 3,000 vascular plants exist as well as a mixture of animals from both Southern Asia and the boreal north.
Within this expansive country, there are approximately 266 mammal species. Of these species, 26 are listed as vulnerable, a further 13 are endangered while 5 are considered critically endangered. These endangered species include the Siberian tiger, the far eastern leopard and the snow leopard. Other animals found in Russia include the lynx, the Asiatic black bear, the brown bear, musk deer and more. As well as mammals, there are approximately 780 bird species that have been recorded in Russia.
In order to protect the wildlife of the country, there are 101 strictly protected areas as well as 41 national parks. Altogether, these national parks cover approximately 71,700 square kilometres (27,700 square miles). The Barguzinsky Biosphere Reserve is the oldest reserve in Russia. It was established in 1916 to preserve the numbers of Barguzin Sable which was (and remains) popular for its unique fur which retains its smoothness in every direction when touched. In 1986 it became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and hosts over 874 plant species. It is also home to nearly 40 mammal species including elks, musk deer, brown bears and more.
Vodlozersky National Park, located in northern Russia, was established in 1991. At that time, it was the second largest national park in Europe. There are two parts to the park that have different climates. The southern part of the park surrounds Lake Vodlozero and has a more mild climate while the northern part is found in the river valley of Ileksa and experiences long and cold winters. In 2001, Vodlozersky National Park was granted the status of a UNESCO Biosphere. The area is known for its birdwatching opportunities and fishing while the Ileksa River and the Vodla River are popular amongst whitewater rafting enthusiasts.
Zabaikalsky National Park is located in the Buryatia Republic of eastern Russia. The park was established to protect part of the western slopes of the Barguzin mountains as well as the Baikal watershed. A variety of wildlife inhabits the park including endemic Baikal seals that live in the waters of Lake Baikal. This park is included in the overall Lake Baikal UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and makes up approximately 20% of all fresh running water on the planet. It has earned the nickname of the “Galapagos of Russia” because it developed in isolation producing an incredibly unique freshwater ecosystem. These parks are only a sampling of the vast nature and wildlife that is available within Russia.
Russia Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Russia.
Learn about the history and culture of Russia, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Russia's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Russia for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Russia tours today!
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