3. Animals on Kamchatka
There are 43 mammal species in the Kamchatka Oblast, nine of
which are marine mammals
(excluding migrating whales and dolphins.
American mink, Mustela vison
Courtesy: Mammal of
Isle Royale, NPS
American mink, Mustela vison, moving young
BBC Natural History Unit
Muskrat ©? and Canadian beaver, ©Smithsonian
National Museum of Natural History
species have been introduced:
American mink (Mustela vison), muskrat (Ondatra zibethica)
Canadian beaver (Castor canadensis).
Then there are 240 species of birds, 3 spedies of bats and 2 species
Of these, about 40 birds, 12 cetaceans and 2 terrestrial mammals
are rare or endangered.
The King of Kamchatka: The Brown Bear,
Kamchatka has one of the highest populations of
brown bear (Ursus arctos) in the world.
Since times immemorial salmon has been the basic food for the Master
of Kamchatka and
the major source of fat stocks that allowed them to survive through
the long Kamchatka's
salmon spawning time is near, bears from far and wide come to the
after leaving the den, the bear is ready to eat anything, but still
represent a threat to the warm-blooded except ground squirrels which
he sometimes digs
out right from the winter burrow. It may seem incredible, but the
huge predator obediently
has an almost vegetarian diet for several months before the rivers
are filled up with fish.
In July you can observe an idyllic picture of brown bears grazing
like domestic cattle in
the forest's ' berry fields and in the coastal tundra.
highest concentration of bears in Eurasia is found here
However, Kamchatka's huge brown bears are regularly killed by poachers
to satisfy the
Asian market for bear organs. Hundreds of ears - the same species
as the North American
grizzly - are killed by poachers every year to satisfy Chinese and
Koreans who pay thousand
of dollars for the animals organs for medicinal use. According to
some estimates, the bear
population in Kamchatka has dropped by 50 percent since the 1960s.
Nobody knows how
many bears still roam the Kamchatka wilderness (estimates range
from 6,000 to 25,000),
but poachers are killing as many as 2,000 annually.
More than 300 bears will also be killed legally this year by trophy
hunters, including wealthy
Americans and Canadians who pay as much as US $ 13,000 for the privilege
of bagging a bear.
As many as one thousand bears will be shot legally by local hunters.
text needed regarding the rabbits in Kamchatka!
Reindeer, Rangifer tarandus
to relatively little snow in the winter, alpine tundra areas on
volcanic foothills in the
Kronotsky Biosphere Zopovednink serve as winter pasture for up to
90 percent of the
peninsula's wild reindeer population and snow sheep population remains
stable and high
despite severe declines elsewhere in Kamchatka.
A reindeer belongs in the deer family and their color varies. Reindeer
generally have brown
rough fur, with an ivory colored neck and mane. Their stomach, butt,
and lower parts of tail
are white. Most of the reindeer that inhabit the tundra, the coniferous
forests of Northern
Siberia, and any woodlands are more brownish. All reindeer have
a large nose, small ears
and a tiny furry tail.
The bulls weigh about 275 to 660 pounds, while the females only
weigh from 150 to 300
pounds. The female's antlers are smaller. The fawn is without spots
and matches the adult
reindeer. On the Arctic islands the animals are nearly all white
Reindeer breed in October through November.
After gestation period of about eight months
one or two calves are born in the middle of May through early July.
The young reindeer at
birth weighs about eleven pounds. The newborn calves can stand in
about 1/2 hour after birth,
run after 1 1/2 hour, and run with the herd within a day. The newborn
calves begins to eat
solid foods in two weeks and may keep on nursing into the wintertime.
you know that reindeer are excellent swimmers? During their migrations
they swim across many rivers and streams without difficulty.
of ext above from
Arctic Wildlife, By Fred J. Kane
more reindeer here
Fox (Alopex lagopus)
Arctic Fox Gallery at Digital
The Copper Island Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus
mednovi) is one of the most critically
endangered mammals in Asia.
Russian Arctic Fox, Alopex lagopus
Name: arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus, previously Alopex lagopus);
Norwegian: fjellrev (=polarrev); German: Polarfuchs; French: renard
The Russian arctic fox is a fox subspecies and does not turn
white at all. Instead, she remains
gray-brown. The fox's preferred territory ranges from arctic and
alpine tundra to ice covered
seas. The foxes have been known to wander extremely far -- as much
as 2000 km for one fox.
The distance traveled is incredible when the fox's size is considered,
for he is no bigger than a
house cat. Arctic foxes are scavengers and hunters eating almost
anything available that others
The Russian arctic fox has the warmest fur of any animal. The fox
has two color phases;
the white phase begins as short brown fur during the fall season,
that is covered by a dense
white coat in the winter. On the summer and late winter the fox
becomes a deep bluish gray color.
The fox's winter color depends on its habitat: the blue phase being
for Arctic foxes that live
near the shore. When foxes are ready to give birth they prepare
a den; each den can consist
of four to twelve openings, but have been known to have more than
a hundred openings,
as they are passed down from generation to generation.
Above text from "Kamchatka
Creatures" by Ciel Yogis
fox, Alopex lagopus, hunting lemmings
BBC Natural History Unit
fox, Vulpes vulpes
fox, Vulpes vulpes
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and pictures on this page, if nothing else mentioned:
and from the book "The
Russian Far East"