You may confuse it with the sea, but Baikal is just a lake – the biggest and the deepest in the world. It is famous for its crystal clear fresh waters and a unique animal world. Often referred to as the “Pearl of Siberia”, it contains 20% of fresh water from the whole Earth's surface, which is more than all North American Great Lakes together. Let’s take a look at the wildlife of this global natural treasure.
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The most famous whitefish, Baikal omul has a very interesting history. Once a group of Arctic omul migrated from Arctic sea, going through the continent and ending up in the freshwater Baikal lake. It happened during the last glaciation around 20 thousand years ago through the rivers, so now this fish has characteristics both of the sea fish and freshwater fish. Today, the omul is considered to be the most vulnerable fish of the Baikal lake.
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This adorable animal called nerpa or Baikal seal is endemic. It is the smallest kind of seal and definitely one of the cutest ones. Seals love winter. When the lake becomes frozen, seals keep a few holes for breathing. As the climate changes, they tend to be closer to the North, where the ice cover remains longer. Only in spring, when all the ice is melted, nerpas go to shore.
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One of the wonders of the lake is Baikal oilfish, and it also makes the main population of the lake. Hard to believe that this beautiful almost transparent fish consists of 50% fat. You can also keep one in home aquarium with the water temperature up to +6 C.
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Mammals come to the Baikal Lake every day to drink water, and bears are among them. When this little bear grows up, he will weight 200-300 kilos. Born in late January little cubs are not likely to leave their den by early May.
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Siberian Roe Deer
Probably the most elegant creature of Siberia, a roe deer is a typical fauna member of the Baikal Lake. It is so commonly distributed and loved in continental Asia that people of Kyzyl built a monument devoted to the Siberian roe deer.
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Birds of Baikal
Big lakes attract thousands of birds, and the birds attract ornithologists. Bird trips to Baikal are alternative to African safaris. People from all around the world come to watch the birds and take beautiful photos.
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Russian Arctic Ground Squirrel and other inhabitants of taiga
Russian Taiga attracts not only the birds’ watchers but all kinds of adventure seekers, who want to have the feeling of untouched nature. There you can meet wildlife person-to-person, and take very close shots of the animals, who have no fear of people.
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By visiting amazing Ushkany Islands, an explorer will meet a colony of Baikal seals and watch their lazy lives.
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“Are you ready for your new Baikal Lake adventure?” asks the young gray heron.
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