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The Kandalaksha Nature Reserve
December 11, 2020 10:48


The Kandalaksha Nature Reserve is one of the oldest in Russia. It is located in two regions at once - the Murmansk region and Karelia. The territory of the reserve is huge - 78 608 hectares. It includes more than 550 islands and the sea area. By the way, it  occupies most of the territory of the entire reserve - almost 74 percent.

Nature of the Kandalaksha reserve

The Kandalaksha Nature Reserve is located on 13 large areas around the Kola Peninsula from the border with Norway to part of the Loukhsky District of Karelia. The largest objects here are: Veliky Island, Gavrilovskie and Ainov Islands, a group of 7 islands in the Barents Sea, islands in the Kandalaksha Bay, islands and water area of ​​Porya Bay, Turiy Cape. The coastline is predominantly rocky. As for the land, in the northern part there is tundra with swamps and small lakes, in the southern part there are forests. Winter is mild here, but long lasting. In addition, the polar night reigns here for several months. Northern Lights can be seen from late October to March. In the warm season, there is a polar day, which also lasts for several months.


The following animals live on the territory of the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve: brown bears, foxes, American minks, martens, ermines, muskrats, white hares, voles, lemmings, elks, reindeer, roe deer. There are wolves, wolverines, rarely - lynxes, weasels and river otters. In the sea - ringed seals, bearded seals,   northern seals, in the springs - harp seals. Less often you can see minke whales, belugas, porpoises, Atlantic walruses. In these parts there are also gray toads, sharp-faced and grass frogs, viviparous lizards and common vipers, as well as about 2,000 species of various insects. The abundance of fish contributes to the large nesting of birds on the islands and shores around the Kola Peninsula.  The reserve is home to 27 species of animals, which are noted in the Red Book of Russia. These include, for example, the Atlantic great and crested cormorant, the Atlantic gray seal, eider, osprey, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, peregrine falcon and others.


On the islands of the Barents Sea, you can often see fern thickets, tall grass, as well as, for example, chamomile, willow-herb, doze, and cloudberry. There are practically no trees here, but if there are, then these are low bush thickets of mountain ash or birch. On the islands and on the shores of the Kandalaksha Bay there are pine forests, occasionally - birch, willow, alder, bird cherry, a lot of lingonberries, cranberries, currants and blueberries. Here you can often find thickets of ferns and meadows completely covered with moss.

Excursions to the Kandalaksha nature reserve

The museum was founded in 1975. Now it is located in the city of Kandalaksha, in the building of the Reserve Administration. Here you will be told about the history of the protected natural area, its flora and fauna, the peculiarities of the climate and relief. You will see panoramas of islands and protected areas, as well as documentaries. You can book a tour of the reserve. The length of the excursion route is about 3 kilometers. However, you should first leave a request by phone: 8 (815-33) 9-33-03. The staff of the museum and the reserve are engaged in active educational activities. Various press conferences are regularly held, booklets, brochures and postcards with images and information about the Kandalaksha nature reserve are published. Sometimes documentaries are filmed on the territory of the reserve.  They also hold various contests of drawings and videos, arrange bird watching, field lessons and other events.


The Kandalaksha Nature Reserve was created in 1932. Initially, it was necessary for the protection of nesting eiders, because the down of this duck is considered one of the best natural insulation in the world. Because of this, the eider's nests were ruined, and over time, the number of this bird on the coast decreased several times. In 1939, the Kandalaksha nature reserve was given the status of a state one. Since then, not only nesting ducks have come under protection, but the entire flora and fauna. In 1951, islands in the White and Barents Seas were added to the reserve. In 1975, the entire protected area received international status.

How to get there

You can get to the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve with an excursion booked
in the Museum 8 (815-33) 9-33-03 (Department of Environmental Education). It is located at the address: Murmansk region, Kandalaksha, Lineinaya street, 35.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russian national parks Russian nature Kandalaksha Karelia Murmansk region 

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