Explore the Beautiful Kuril Islands

The Kuril Islands were formed by volcanoes, and its is these volcanoes that divide this chain of Russian islands into three groups, namely: the Northern Kuril Islands; Central Kuril Islands; and the Southern Kuril Islands. Located in the Sakhalin region of Russia, this volcanic archipelago stretches for almost 1 300 kilometers and consists of a total of fifty-six islands that make up the chain. These islands of Russia were not only created from volcanic activity, but are nicknamed the 'Ring of Fire', because of the one hundred volcanoes scattered along the chain. At least forty of these are still active and some of the islands have fumaroles and hot springs.

A few of the Kuril Islands have small villages. The archipelago's popularity as a tourist destination has increased, not because of noteworthy attractions or historical sites, but because of the majestic beauty of these Russian islands. The vegetation of the Kuril Islands consists mostly of Oak forests, Maple forests, White elm forests, Birch forests, Alder forests, swamp, open woodland, meadows and shrubs. It provides a safe habitat for various animals including squirrels, foxes, brown bears and birds. Bird watching enthusiasts will find these Russian islands to be a treasure chest of bird species, with birds such as the Red-throated Loon, Little Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Northern Fulmar, Fork-tailed Storm Petrel, Pelagic Cormorant, Garganey, Tufted Duck, Rough-legged Buzzard Greater Pied Kingfisher, White-backed Woodpecker and Sibirian Thrush, to name only a few. The Kuril Islands are also known for the vast amount of seabirds that are found here. Visitors will be able to see tufted puffins, gulls, cormorants, murres, auklets and kittiwakes. The oceans around the islands boast spectacular marine life, with the protected sea otter, fin whales, Orcas, Baird’s beaked whales, sperm whales, seals, northern fur seals and Steller sea lions often seen in the waters or on the islands of the Kuril Islands chain.

For most inhabitants of the islands, fishing is a vital way of life. Deep in the ocean waters that surround the Kuril Islands, fishermen are able to find Pacific cod, flatfish, walleye pollock and various species of salmon. Because of the abundance of marine life, birds, vegetation, insects, amphibians and reptiles that call these Russian islands home, many research projects are taking place here. This includes the International Kuril Island Project, a collaboration between Japan, America and Russia to research the various plants, spiders, fish, animals and reptiles that inhabit the islands.

Visitors will be astounded at the magnificence of the islands, the villages and the wildlife. Whilst touring the Kuril Islands guests are guaranteed to enjoy a spectacular adventure and see a unique variety of wildlife and landscapes. The views, the birds and the ocean make the Kuril Islands a recommended tourist destination.


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