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Zabaikalsky National Park

Republic of Buryatia

Zabaikalsky National Park was established in 1986 on the territory of the Republic of Buryatia with the aim to preserve a unique natural complex of the Baikal Lake basin. The area of the National Park is 269.1 thousand ha. The Park territory includes 37,000 ha of the Baikal Lake water area (13.8% of the total park area). Forestlands take up 158,600 ha or 58.9%. Other lands are waters, bogs, sands.

Geographical highlights
In the park several major orographic units can be distinguished: Svyatonossky Range, Bargizin Range, Chivyrkuisky Neck and Ushkanji Islands. Many small rivers flow though the National Park, all of them carry their waters to Lake Baikal. The largest of them are the Greater and Lesser Cheremshana and Great Chivyrkui Rivers.
The largest lakes here are Arangutui and Smaller Arangutui. Lake Barmashevo is known for its mineral waters. The National Park has several thermal water springs, Zmeinyi, Nechayevsky and Kulinoe.
Continental climate is the cause of long, cold winters and warm, at times, dry summer. In the coastal area the climate is milder due to the effect of the Baikal Lake. An average temperature in January is -18º -19ºC, in July +12º +14ºC. In mountains an average temperature in January gets down to -23º -25ºC. In intermountain depressions the highest average temperatures in July reach +18.5ºC.
Water temperature of the Baikal Lake even in the hottest time seldom gets higher than +14 ºC.

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Flora and Fauna
The territory of the National Park falls within the zone of subtaiga forests of the southern Siberia’s taiga. The vegetation cover reveals a clear-cut vertical zonality typical of the Zabaikalsky Mountains. The forests are dominated by coniferous varieties: pine – 34%, mountain pine – 29%, cedar pine, larch, Siberian abies. Deciduous vegetation takes up much smaller areas: birches – 4.3%, asps – 4%.
The flora here includes many endemic, rare and relic plants. Various species of steppe phytocenoses are of relic origin, valuable plant communities of high-mountain complexes with Alpine shrubs on the Ushkanji Islands and the Svyatoi Nos Peninsula. There are 19 endemic species and nine species rarely found in the Lake Baikal region, including Borodinia tilingii.
Within the territory of the National Park 291 species of terrestrial vertebrate animals are found. Among the most commonly found species of medium and large mammals are mountain hares, squirrels, musk-rats, sables, ermines, brown bears, deer and elks.
The Ushkanji Islands are important rest grounds for the Baikal seal (Phoca sibirica).

What to see
The national park comprises many unique natural monuments including “singing sands”, Nechayevsky Springs and Cheremshanskaya grove.
Historical and cultural complexes in the Park include archeological monuments, among which are neolithic camps, plate tombs of the 2nd century B.C. and later tombs of nomads of the XIV – XV centuries, traces of an ancient irrigation system and 35 settlements of the Bronze and Early Iron Ages.

Adapted from  National Parks of Russia Guidebook 1997
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