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Nature Reserves in Russia

Few countries can match Russia when it comes to the rarest jewels of nature. This is an amazing land where you can be transported back well beyond the reaches of human history. Russia has an incredible collection of zapovedniks or nature reserves, where eco-systems are preserved in their pristine states. While it is true that Russia is extremely fortunate to have such an enormous basket of natural resources, it is also to the eternal credit of the country’s government that this inherited wealth is so splendidly protected for future generations. Many of us tend to forget that conservation comes at high costs, because a country must forego significant material and financial benefits of economic development in order to look after its natural reserves.

It is not easy to reach the Khasan Preserve, but the effort is worthwhile for the intrepid. This glorious spectacle of nature is more accessible from North Korea than from Moscow, but it is an integral part of Russia. The flora and fauna of the Khasan Preserve are so closely guarded that even finding a tour operator with the licenses and resources to take you to this paradise is quite an issue! Fortunately, the authorities in Moscow are not blind to the yearnings of serious ecologists, and people who are committed to conservation can travel with scientists, in small groups, to the Khasan Preserve.

Much of the charm of this enchanting sanctuary comes from the confluence of the continent of Asia with the Pacific Ocean. The Khasan Preserve is almost like a living Museum, for you can transit so seamlessly between bewildering successions of habitats. Nowhere is this blending more apparent than in the water, because one can see evolution in action, as a plethora of life forms adapt to varying levels of salinity. The Khasan Preserve is also a biologist’s delight, with a breadth of vegetation that can encompass lifetimes of study with ease.

However, it is the inveterate bird watcher for whom at least one visit to the Khasan Preserve is a must. The shore-line is home to species which you may not sight anywhere else. Obviously, the early summer month of August is the best time to go, and a birder may notch up more sightings in a day, than for weeks of effort at most other places. The avian attractions of the Khasan Preserve are such that you could even become an avid bird lover even if you have never indulged in this passion before!

 



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