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    A staff member with a golden eagle at a raptor nursery in the Galichya Gora nature reserve, Lipetsk region

    Seven Most Unique Nature Reserves in Russia (PHOTOS)

    © Sputnik / Uliana Solovyova
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    January 11 is observed annually in Russia as the Nature Reserves Day. With a total natural reserves’ acreage of about 200 million hectares (over 494 million acres), the country serves as a home to countless unique species of plant and animal life.

    And needless to say, some of Russia’s nature reserves truly stand for some very special reasons.

    The Smallest

    With an acreage of only 2.3 square kilometers, Galichya Gora (Galich Mountain) is the smallest nature reserve in Russia. Located in the Lipetsk Region, this relatively small area serves as home to over 650 species of plants, many of which normally don’t grow in this climate.

    Raptor nursery in Galichya Gora nature reserve
    © Sputnik / Uliana Solovyova
    Raptor nursery in Galichya Gora nature reserve

    The Largest

    The Large Arctic Nature Reserve in the Krasnoyarsky Region is the largest nature reserve in Russia, boasting an acreage of some 42 thousand square kilometers – about the same size as Denmark, Switzerland or the Netherlands. Home to the largest polar bear population in continental Eurasia, this reserve is also known for its sizeable population of wild reindeer and as a nesting ground for rare species of birds like peregrine falcon and brant.

    Polar bears
    © Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov
    Polar bears

    The Cattiest

    The Leopard Land Nature Reserve is the only place in Russia where you can encounter both Amur tigers and Amur leopards. About 40 species of animals inhabiting the reserve are considered rare and endangered.

    Barabash village in the Land of the Leopard National Park in the Khasan district of Primorye
    © Sputnik / Vitaliy Ankov
    Barabash village in the Land of the Leopard National Park in the Khasan district of Primorye

    The Most Fertile

    The Wrangel Island Nature Reserve off the coast of Chukotka is sometimes referred to as the polar bear nursery, as every year between 300 to 500 den mothers congregate there to give birth. The island is also known as the largest Pacific walrus rookery in the world and as home to the only snow goose colony in Eurasia, making it probably the most biologically diverse island in the Arctic.

    Biologist monitoring polar fox in the Wrangel Island reserve
    © Sputnik / Alexander Liskin
    Biologist monitoring polar fox in the Wrangel Island reserve

    The Furriest

    Established a century ago, the Barguzin Nature Reserve in Buryatia is the oldest nature reserve in the country, originally created to help preserve the sable. Back when the reserve was established, only 20-30 sables inhabited it; now however there are thousands of these furry little critters scurrying about.

    The Barguzin Coast of Lake Baikal
    © Wikipedia / Andrei Marhotin
    The Barguzin Coast of Lake Baikal

    The Most Mystical

    Despite its abundant wildlife and plant life, it was a peculiar landscape feature known as the Manpupuner rock formations that made Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve in the Komi Republic famous. A set of seven stone pillars up to 42 meters high, local legends claim that they are in fact mythical giants turned to stone centuries ago by a shaman’s magic. Even though they’re not well known outside Russia, these rock formations are considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of Russia.

    Manpupuner rock formations
    © Wikipedia / Asankheia
    Manpupuner rock formations

    The Highest

    Centered on Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, the Prielbrusye National Park is definitely the highest nature reserve in Russia. Home to countless species of plants and wildlife, the national park also serves as a center for mountain sports like skiing, hiking and climbing.

    © Wikipedia / Kristina Vladimirovna199


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