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Ecotourism in Altai: Sailyugemsky National Park
April 17, 2019 11:10


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Sailyugemsky National Park is located in the Kosh-Agach District of the Altai Republic. It was established in 2010 with the participation of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), as well as a number of government agencies. At first it was planned to create a reserve here, but the need to take into account the interests of the indigenous population, whose main source of food is still livestock, forced to correct the original plan.

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Location

The national park consists of three separate zones. The first two, Sailyugem and Ulandryk, are located on the northern side of the Sailyugemsky Range, bordering Mongolia on the south. The third zone, Argut, is located on the Katunsky and North-Chuisky ranges, not far from the border with Kazakhstan.

Fauna

The fauna of the national park is unique.   One of the largest populations of argali lives here, numbering five hundred individuals. Snow leopards live near the Argut River, at a lower altitude.   Capricorns, mountain goats,   as well as wild cats - manuls, also live here.
 
The population of brown bears living in the park is listed as a special subspecies in the Republican Red Book. These are animals of a very light color living high in the mountains; they are sometimes called white-skinned. Plus, in the park you can find almost 150 species of birds, including a variety of rare predators.
 
Argali rams are the biggest argali on Earth. Their horns can weigh up to 27 kg.

Ecotourism
 
One of the goals of creating a national park was the development of ecotourism, and here there are all possibilities for this. In these places, travelers can get acquainted with the real untouched Altai nature and local culture. The Argut zone is considered the most “wild” in the park; it is the standard of the virgin beauty of Altai. Since the park was created not so long ago, its infrastructure is still being developed.
 
The local population in the national park is extremely small. Telengits, a genus of Altaians with their own unique traditions and rituals, and Chui Kazakhs live here. Here they still sew and wear national clothes, weave carpets with old patterns, make leather.

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Kosh-Agach district is the only one in Altai where yaks and camels are bred. Milk  can be tasted on a farm near the district center, the village of the same name. Here you can buy a variety of handicrafts as souvenirs.
 
The sights of the national park are not only natural beauties. There are local history museums in the villages of Kokor and Jean-Aul. Fans of archeology should visit the ancient Tarkhatinsky observatory and the Yustida complex. And you can see cave paintings and runes of ancient people with your own eyes in the Elangash petroglyphic complex, in Kurgak and Kereksur.
 
Practical information
 
In order to get to the territory, you will need  a pass issued by  the administration. This can be done in the village of Kosh-Agach, in the village of Ust-Koks or in the village of Mayma (Lenin St., 8a). Special permission is required to visit areas located near the border.



Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russian national parks ecotourism Altai travel to Russia  

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