VASSILKOVSKY National Zoological
(Game) Sanctuary (area 34,000 ha) is situated in Olga District, southwestern
part of Primorye, extending along the Japan Sea coast.
Created in 1973 on 28.7 thousand hectares, in 1996, when its term of operation was extended, Vassilkovsky’s area was increased. The territory is characterized by irregular low- and medium-high relief (maximum peak altitudes—711 m).
Twenty-eight rare and disappearing vascular plant species grow here, including Palibin’s edelweiss, the cuspidate rhododendron and the tamarisk Lycopodium. Small microbiota growth sites occur on rocky detritus, the Olga larchwood presenting special interest.
Vassilkovsky is characterized by high density of natural spotted deer population and by resultant tiger concentration. The mountain goat inhabits coastal cliffs, and the Himalayan bear also occurs. At least one hundred bird species nest here, and approximately the same number visit the sanctuary during seasonal migrations, including sixteen rare and disappearing species. Besides, twenty-seven Red Book insect species live here.
By and large, Vassilkovsky plays an important role in preserving and maintaining rare and endangered vascular plant species and animals in the eastern part of Primorye. All forms of game hunting, commercial fishing, major cuttings and turpentine extraction, plowing and use of toxic chemicals, commercial purveyance of wild plants, presence of unleashed dogs, granting land plots for construction and land withdrawal, hiking and recreation are prohibited. Geological prospecting and mining of mineral resources, as well as R & D operations are subject to control.
Yu. BERSENEV, State Committee for Environment
Conservation of Primorye Territory.