Preserving Sikote-Alin Russia

shktnFortunately, there are some places in the world that are not only extraordinary, but have had the good fortune to have remained relatively free from the influence of humankind enabling them to be able to flourish in their natural state. One such place is Sikote-Alin a mountain range in the far east of Siberia whose ruggedness protects a wealth of endangered species, many of which are amongst the last of their kind on Earth.

Additionally, the region was also hit by a large meteorite in 1947, the first time in recorded history that a meteorite of such intensity had been witnessed and recorded and mostly recovered. This 70 tonne piece of iron glowed brighter than the Sun when entering the atmosphere and left a kilometres long smoky tail which remained visible for many hours afterwards. Although it broke up into pieces, one slice was large enough to impact a crater that was 26 metres (85ft) across and 6 metres (20ft) deep.

The real interest in Sikote-Alin, however, is in its diversity and the fact that it has one of the world’s most interesting climate zones. Although located in normally frozen Siberia, the mountains contain a temperate zone and some places which are similar to the tropical zone.

The mountains are now being preserved because of the rare and endangered species which still exist there. Forests cover 95% of the mountains, with alpine tundra, coastal shrub lands, meadows and bogs accounting for the rest of the area.

This region is home to a unique variety of large carnivores, which includes brown bears, Asiatic black bears, wolves, wolverine, and Eurasian lynx. Additionally, this dense forest landscape also supports the world’s last remaining Siberian tigers.

Even though Siberian tigers exist here, life is still very hard for them as about 50 percent of Siberian tigers die before they become a year old. Because these forests contain such little prey for the tigers to feast upon these Siberian tigers require vast territories, averaging about 175 square miles for each female.

Sikote-Alin ends on the shores of the Pacific Ocean where sheer cliffs are formed which provide a dramatic backdrop when observed from the sea. There is a wealth of marine life living on this coastline that is nourished by the nutrients that is carried there by the rivers which flow down from the slopes.

Although there are a few small settlements within the mountains, the nearest major town to Sikote-Alin is Russia’s eastern seaport of Vladivostok.

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