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Russia Wildlife Highlights

Given its tremendous size, it is no surprise that Russia hosts an incredible variety of ecosystems and associated wildlife.

Temperate forests cover seventy percent of the country - making up a third of all temperate forest on Earth - but other habitats range from the steppe grasslands of the south to the frozen tundra and Arctic deserts of the far north. Bitterly cold winters and harsh conditions mean wildlife is scarce here, although reindeer, Arctic fox, walrus and polar bears can often be found on the remote Wrangel Island.

The Russian Far East is particularly biodiverse, with carnivores including the Eurasian lynx, Siberian tiger and Amur leopard prowling through the Siberian forests on the hunt for red deer and wild boar. Spawning alamo thrive in the volcanic ash-enriched waterways of the Kamchatka Peninsula, attracting predators such as sea otters, sea eagles, and of course, Kamchatka brown bears.

Siberian Tiger

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.

Brown Bear

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.

RUS St Russia Siberian Tiger Ondrej Prosicky

Eurasian Wolf

The Eurasian Wolf, is a subspecies of the common grey wolf. Once spread over most of Eurasia, now it is found in Europe and Asia, ranging through Western Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, China and the Himalayan Mountains. These wolves have short dense fur are stand around 30 inches tall. These wolves are highly sociable and are often found in small packs. There are also three other species of wolf found in Russia, including the Tundra wolf, Tibetan wolf, and Caspian Sea wolf.

Siberian Lynx

The Siberian lynx is a medium-sized mammal, with a relatively short torso, long, slender legs and round head. Its ears are small and stand topped with long tassels. No other cat is adapted so well to the snow and cold, like the lynx. In Russia, the lynx is found in the deep mature coniferous forests from the western borders up to Kamchatka and Sakhalin. Not just a great climber on trees and rocky terrain, the lynx is fast runner and can leap up to four metres in the air after prey.

Amur Leopard

People usually picture leopards in the tropical savananahs of Africa, but in the Russian Far East, a rare subspecies is found. Unlike their counterparts in Africa and the Indian subcontinent, the Amur leopard has perfectly adapted to life in the cool climates of the taiga. Far Eastern leopards have longer limbs, allowing them to walk in the snow. The color of their fur changes seasonally, from a reddish yellow in the summer to a light yellow in the winter. The length of their fur also can change with the temperature, from 2.5 cm in the warmer months to 7 cm during the coldest times of the year.With just under 60 individuals remaining, the leopard is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN.