Irkutsk region, Bodaibinsky district
Lake Oron is often called “the younger brother of Baikal Lake”. Its length is 24 kilometers; the width varies from 2, 5 kilometers to 6 kilometers. The banks of the lake are surrounded by high picturesque barrens covered with dwarf pine. This lake is situated in the central part of the Vitim reserve. It was established for preservation of the Stanovoe plateau’s as well as preservation of sable and bighorn.
The reserve was created in 1982 and covers an area of 585 hectares in southern-eastern part of Bodabinsky district, Irkutskay region.
Features of the natural environment
The territory of the reserve is a part of Baikal mountain area and is located in northern-eastern part of the Stanovoe plateau. Terrain is formed on the base of 2 mountain ranges: Delun-Uransky in the north and Severo-Myisky and Kodar in the south. The Kodar mountain range is characterized by high altitudes (it may reach up to 3072, 6 meters above sea level).
There are many rivers, streams and springs in the reserve. Most of the streams have deeply-embedded valleys, rocky bottom, and rapid current. Numerous lakes of the reserve are usually small, only a few number of them reach the length of 1 kilometer. Sharp continentality and altitudinal climatic zonality is determined by the location of the reserve within temperate zone, the remoteness from oceans and mountainous terrain. Average monthly temperature in January, the coldest winter month, is usually below -30 ºÑ. Absolute temperature minimum is -60ºÑ. In July the average temperature is +17ºÑ. Absolute temperature maximum is +38ºÑ however light frosts may be found in any summer month.
Flora and Fauna
Mountains are one of the main features of the vegetation of the reserve. The zones include larch forests (spruce, pine, cedar) continiung with dwarf pine, mountain lichen tundra, alpine and subalpine meadows. Alpine meadows are colorful in flowering period of aquilegia, dragonhead, anemone, groundsel, and dandelion.
Fauna includes primarily taiga and mountain-tundra species. There are brown bear, wolverine, reindeer, Siberian stag and elk in the reserve. There is a relative abundance of sables in the reserve. Their population was preserved here even in times of almost complete extermination of it in Siberia. It is a Vitim sable which was taken to northern-eastern parts of Yakutia in 1950s for recovery.
Rare birds that may be found in the Red book of the RF include black stork, golden eagle, erne, falcon, osprey, and demoiselle.
What to see
One may come across chipmunk, squirrel, hare, grouse, black-bide capercaillie and even brown bear on the path leading to Okunevoe Lake. Water in the lake has a slightly noticed smell of hydrogen sulfide because of gas bubbles rising to the surface. One may raft on the river Vitim. This activity is full of obstacles (shoals, rifts) which you will have to get over but in the end you will be able to get to know unique local Flora and Fauna. One may imagine what rocks look like on the mountain Markelka. They have fantastic forms because of the weathering. Then you may look around; the mountain overviews a beautiful panorama of Oron Lake, valley of the river Vitim and Oron shoals with numerous islands.