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Russian Steppe of Kalmykia
September 16, 2015 21:14


Saiga antelope which is considered the main symbol of the Republic of Kalmykia is a small antelope with a funny nose looking like a short trunk. Funny animals have had hard life until 2002: the species was close to extinction because of the uncontrolled extermination. That is why the Centre of Wildlife was established in Yashkulsky District of Kalmykia. The only micropopulation of saiga living in captivity appeared in the Kalmykia steppe.

Unlike the “Chyornye Zemli” Reserve, the task of the Centre is not just to protect the antelope from poachers, but to save the genetic pool. Isolated saiga preserved their natural behavior, as well as began to regularly bear their young.

There are more than 90 antelopes in the reserve today, and their number grows every year. The antelopes are kept in cages from 3 to 62 hectares in size, so it is easy enough to see them. At least, you do not have to wait for them for a week, like in “Chyornye Zemli”. Photographers organize an ambush in the main aviary of the Centre. Once in two or three days saiga certainly passes by the ambush at least once at a distance of photo shot.

You can see not only saiga - the Centre of Wildlife turned into a steppe mini-zoo today. Camels and horses, ponies and sheep, wild pigs and ostriches live in the aviaries. There is even a buffalo called Mishka, a gift of Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve. All this diversity is naturally complemented and enlivened by the landscape. Nearby there is a man-made canal that supplies the entire Kalmykia with water. Fish lives in the canal, demoiselle nest on its reedy banks.

In the second half of April the steppe is covered with a carpet of blooming tulips. They are not as big here as on the bank of Manych, but even undersized tulips give the steppe its extraordinary charm.



Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Kalmykia     

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