The Snow Leopard National Republican
Zoological Sanctuary was created in 1979 on an area of 106,000 ha in Khasan
District in the south of Primorye. The natural habitat is highly favorable
for forest fauna species. Low ridges, deeply cut by river valleys, vast
rocky massifs and plateau-like mountains create a mosaic of forest and
tree-shrub vegetation. Secondary broad-leaved forests prevail here. Primary
forest massifs composed of black spruce and cedar groves with white bark
spruces remain in the Sanctuary’s western and northwestern parts, and larchwood
forests on its plateau-like mountains. The principal protected species
is the Far Eastern leopard.
Many rare and disappearing vascular plant species grow in the Sanctuary, including the floating water nut, the Baikal feather grass and the Manchurian catnip, none of which are represented in the nearby Kedrovaya Padj Preserve. At least 150 bird species nest here, and about one hundred other species cross or stop here during migrations. Significantly, some bird species nest in Primorye only in this Sanctuary, and fifteen of them are rare and disappearing varieties. Over forty Red Book insect species, e.g. the Uvarov grasshopper, the Kurentsov grilloblattid, and other species like Boloria hakutosana and the swallowtail live in Russia almost exclusively on the territory of the Sanctuary.
Thus, the Sanctuary plays a paramount role in preserving and maintaining rare and endangered flora and fauna in the southwestern part of Primorye, being in this respect on par with Kedrovaya Padj. Given that the survival of populations of rare species essentially depends on preservation of the environment, notably on primary conifer—broad-leaved and larchwood forests in the western and northwestern parts of the Sanctuary, it is of utmost importance to provide appropriate nature management and special biotechnical measures (supplementary feeding, combating predators and various diseases) and to keep record of the animal population.
All forms of game hunting, commercial fishing, cuttings, mining, plowing and use of toxic chemicals are banned in the Sanctuary. The presence of people, amateur fishing and gathering of wild plants are also subject to control. This is difficult to implement, given that several settlements, including Barabash and a 34.9 thousand ha firing range are located here. A large part of the Sanctuary is part of the national border area, separated from the rest of the Sanctuary by a control-tracking zone.
Yu. BERSENEV, State Committee for Environment
Conservation of Primorye Territory.