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    Russia's Kurilsky Reserve: Magnificent Nature Retreat in the Land of Volcanoes

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    © Sputnik/ Ekaterina Shtukina
    A fox at Kurilsky Nature Reserve on November 30, 2017.

    With some 65,364 hectares (252.37 square miles) of forests, fields and coastline, Kurilsky State Nature Reserve in the country’s Far East is one of the largest wintering sites for seabirds. Sputnik offers you a closer look at the calming beauty of the unique sanctuary located on several islands in the Pacific Ocean.

    Kurilsky Nature Reserve covers Kunashir Island — the largest of the Kuril Islands, which stretch between Japan's Hokkaido Island and Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula — and two smaller islands nearby. Sitting on a tectonically unstable location, this sanctuary created in 1984 is one of two Russian national reserves that protect territory of active volcanoes.

    The ecological reserve is located in the mixed forests region and is typically characterized by short cool summers and long cold winters.

    With approximately 70% of its area covered with forests, Kurilsky Reserve boasts a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Scientists have recorded 227 species of birds and 29 species of mammals on its territory, with 84 of those considered as endangered and included in Russia's list of threatened species. Out of 107 species of vascular plants, 41 are also listed as rare and endangered.

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