Kamchatka Nalychevo Nature Park



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Animals of Nalychevo Nature Park

Animals from a variety of elevations and habitats can be observed in the park.
On the Pacific coast, and especially near the mouth of the Nalychevo River, one can observe seals, most often larga seals (or motley seals) during salmon spawning season, as well as Steller's sea lions and sea otters.

In the central part of the park, situated 340 meters above sea level, visitors will greatly appreciate sightings of the Kamchatka brown bear. The bear population in the park has remained stable as of 2004, numbering 124 individuals. One to five bears can be observed right from the cabins of the central camp during the berry season almost daily from August 10 to September 20. The animals feed in the tundra, most often in the morning and evening, in their customary places along the right bank of the Goryachaya River. Bears rarely visit the left bank of the river, where the visitor cabins are located (though 2005 was an exception when, because of poor salmon runs, bears behaved abnormally all over Kamchatka). From the end of September through October, bears fish on the river, often under cover of flooded groves of thickets.

The Kamchatka sable is observed less frequently than bears, but it can be seen all the same during the day, both in the forest and in dwarf pine thickets. Females raise their young in summer, and hunt even in daylight. More than 300 sables reside in the park, and that number has increased in recent years.
In twilight hours in summertime, the Brandt bat can be observed near the cabins and hot springs as it hunts for insects.

The river otter and American mink are rather numerous in park and can be observed any time of the year.
The Eastern Siberian lynx came to Kamchatka relatively recently, having dispersed onto the peninsula from the continent. The lynx first appeared in Nalychevo Park around 1960. Usually hares are the lynx's main prey, but as with many animals on Kamchatka, the lynx has learned to hunt salmon, and can successfully catch fish in the water after spawning. Unlike many cats, lynx are good swimmers. Lynx can be observed in Nalychevo Park in winter and in early spring, albeit infrequently; however, their tracks on the snow in winter are often noted along the banks of small spawning streams.

While searching for fish, lynx often use trails laid by wolverines along the rivers. The wolverine prefers to spend the summer (the breeding season) in the mountain tundra or elfin woods, but as winter approaches, it descends to the forests and tirelessly explores large distances scavenging for food.

Kamchatka wolves can also fish in shallow water and therefore visit small spawning streams. Tracks of individual wolves near the cabins of the park's central camp and on the floodplain of the Goryachaya River can be found in October or November.

The fox does not breed in dens in the central part of park, but comes here only for short periods in late autumn and in spring each year.

In the mountains, at an elevation of 600-1,500 m above sea level, visitors often observe the amusing and not timid Kamchatka ground squirrel.

Permanent colonies of black-capped marmots are found in the park in the crater of the Dzendzur Volcano, in the spurs of the Kupol Volcano, and at the foot of Avacha Volcano.

The snow sheep inhabits the park in two isolated populations. One group inhabits the environs of the Dzendzur-Zhupanovsky volcanic massif, and the other lives by the sea on the cliffs of Cape Nalychevo. While successful breeding of snow sheep has been documented, the overall numbers of sheep have decreased in recent years.
According to available information, a herd of fewer than 20 wild reindeer deer inhabits the territory of the park.
The English names of mammals in the park can be found in "The Catalogue of Vertebrates of Kamchatka and Adjacent Waters".

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