The Siberian tiger, the largest of all the big cats, once roamed throughout eastern Russia, as well as the Korean peninsula and northern China. By the mid-twentieth century they were on the brink of extinction, with less than 40 individuals still remaining in small patches of forest in the Sikhote-Alin mountain range and Khabarovsk province of Siberia. Now fully protected under Russian law, populations of this majestic big cat have gradually recovered and there are now an estimated 500 tigers in the wild.
Due to the low density of their prey, Siberian tigers can cover vast areas in search of food, making them even more difficult to track. Conservationist and experienced tracker Alexander Batalov has spent years monitoring and protecting the tigers of the Durminskoye Reserve, and will help you to navigate their uncharted territories. By assisting Alexander in setting and retrieving camera traps you will be directly contributing to tiger conservation, while exploring one of the world’s wildest and most challenging environments.
Unlike their counterparts in Africa and the Indian subcontinent, the Amur leopard has perfectly adapted to life in the cool climates of the taiga. With just under 60 individuals remaining, the leopard is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN. Other mammals found here include Asian black bears, wolves, lynxes and raccoon dogs, while birdlife includes the Eurasian eagle-owl and Amur falcon, which migrates from Siberia every year to winter in the warmer climes of southern Africa.
The largely uninhabited Kamchatka Peninsula is home to an abundance of wildlife. Boasting one of the highest populations of brown bear in the world, the Kamchatkan subspecies is second only to the famed Kodiak bears in terms of size. The bears go into hibernation during the cold winter months from November to March, but in July they can be observed in large numbers on the shores of the Kamchatka River, catching the salmon that swim upriver to spawn.
100 miles off the eastern coast of the peninsula, the Commander Islands are renowned for their bird and marine life. Over a million seabirds are estimated to nest on the cliffs and beaches of this remote archipelago, including puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes and auklets, while several marine mammals such as orca, sperm and humpback whales migrate to the cold waters of the northern Pacific to feed.
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