Baikal and its almost entire coast constitute a specially protected natural area, one of the types of such areas is a game reserve. A game reserve is a territory of special importance for the preservation or restoration of natural complexes or their components and for keeping the ecological balance. This areas serve to protect certain species of flora, fauna, natural objects...
“Frolikhinsky” is officially a state nature game reserve of federal significance, it was originally created in 1976 as an object of local importance. Administrative management on the territory of the reserve is executed by the Federal State Budgetary Institution “Zapovednoe Podlemorye” including “Frolikhinsky” game reserve. The reserve territory is included into the Central Ecological Zone of Lake Baikal and is a part of the “Lake Baikal” World Natural Heritage Site.
The reserve has biological and zoological profiles and is designed for preserving and restoring valuable, rare and endangered wildlife objects, as well as their habitat.
The reserve is located in the North Baikal region of the Republic of Buryatia on the north-eastern coast of Lake Baikal, 40 km away from the village of Nizhneangarsk and 45 km away from the city of Severobaikalsk.
The total area of the game reserve makes up 109 200 hectares with the following boundaries:
- northern - from the Nemnyanka Cape along the watershed of the rivers of Pravaya Frolikha and Okulikan to their sources;
- eastern - from the sources of the rivers of Pravaya Frolikha and Okulikan along their watershed between the upper reaches of the springs and rivers flowing into the rivers of Pravaya Frolikha and Levaya Frolikha rivers and the Tompuda river up to the source of the Shirildy river;
- southern - from the source of the Shirildy river downstream along its left bank to the confluence of the Shirildy river in Lake Baikal;
- western - from the mouth of the Shirildy river within the coastline of the game reserve to Nemnyanka Cape, with the exception of the territory allocated for the “Khakusy” hydropathic establishment.
The relief is alpine, sometimes in the medium-altitude range, the ridges of mountain ranges are narrow, often rocky, the peaks of the mountains are pointed, there are skerries as high as 3-16 m. A significant fluctuation in heights is characteristic of this region. The peak dominating Frolikha Lake (“Medvezhiy” bald mountain) reaches 1877 m above sea level.
The climate is extremely continental, with large fluctuations amplitude in annual and daily temperatures. The minimum monthly average temperature is observed in January (-22 to -40 ° C), the maximum temperature - in July (+ 17 ° C).
The territory of the game reserve is related to the coniferous taiga zone, except for the bald mountain belt. Forests consist mainly of Dahurian larch, pine and silver-fir. There are also cedars, firs, aspens, birches, cedar shrubs. Lichen wastelands are widespread at the altitudes 1600 m above sea level, whereas birch, aspen and willow groves are mainly located at the places of former fires.
The taiga game reserve is characterized by such species as elk, Far Eastern red deer, musk deer, wild reindeer, sable, ermine, squirrel, fox, wolverine, wolf, hare, bear. The variety of the birds living and nesting in the reserves includes white-tailed eagle, osprey, mallard duck, teal, gadwall, wigeon, pintail, goldeneye, smew, merganser, whooper swan, as well as capercaillie, hazel grouse, nutcracker, crows and other species. The lakes and rivers of the game reserve are the habitat of char, taimen, lenok, grayling, pike, perch.
The structure of the coastline, semi-submerged rocks near the capes, create the conditions for the summer gatherings of ringed seals on the capes of Nemnyanda, Frolova, Lakanda, Shandaki, forming the northernmost rookeries of the Baikal ringed seal which is the only mammal living in the waters of Lake Baikal.
Frolikha Lake is a magnificent mountain lake surrounded by majestic peaks and the main attraction of the game reserve. This is one of the largest lakes in the entire coastal zone of Baikal: its depth reaches 80 m. It is located in the spurs of the Barguzinsky Ridge surrounded by taiga forests. A salmon unique for Siberia - arctic char (davatchan) - lives in this lake.
Ayaya Bay. A marvelously beautiful narrow bay is the place where the way to Lake Frolikha begins. “Ayaya” means “beautiful” translated from Evenki. The Bay protrudes into the mainland to 4 km, forming a quiet cozy harbor. Sloping boulders, sandy beaches, pure water, beautiful mountain scenery are the main characteristics of this place. There is a small reef 20 meters away from the Ayaya Bay where Baikal ringed seals like to bask on the rocks.
Caves and dunes of the Turali Cape. “Turali” rocky cape is located 6 km away from the “Khakusy” complex, the cape is known for its deep narrow caves and coastal dunes of white coarse-grained sand. The name of “turali” means “rattling, singing sand” translated from Evenki. Before the water level in Baikal rose, the dunes of the Turali made sounds similar to singing during a walk on them or when the wind was strong. There is also Turali Bay, hidden from Baikal by rocky capes. The bay is known for its “bottle” larches. This natural miracle appeared because of the thickening of the trees’ bark near the roots, so that their trunks resemble bottles.
Aman-Kit Cape. A sheer rock on the coast of Lake Baikal (in the southwestern part of the game reserve). For Evenks the cape was the personification of a powerful deity called Dianda.
Ecological trails. The first trail is “Ayaya Bay - Frolikha Lake”, the second one - “Frolikhinskaya Adventure Trail”.
A film about the malignant alga has been shot.
We had a talk with the Director of the “Reserved Podlemorye” Mikhail Ovdin concerning the results of the expedition and heard the most paradoxical reason for the mass death of ringed seals on Lake Baikal.
The works on the preservation and restoration of populations of game animals and rare birds has never stopped on the territory of the Enkhaluksky Game Reserve during more than 20 years.
We continue the series of articles dedicated to the specially protected areas of the wild nature of Baikal. And the main character of today’s article is Kabansky Game Reserve. Its territory is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is protected as a unique wetland by the Ramsar Convention.