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'Numer of endemic species in lake Baikal is 1,455'
Marc Di Duca

Global warming? Kurilskoye Lake freezes for first time in 10 years

By The Siberian Times reporter
01 March 2016

Waters of this wildlife paradise in Kamchatka ice up in rare event after unusually cold spell.

Two weeks of calm weather and low temperatures in February - of minus 20C - shackled the surface of the lake with a thick layer of ice. Picture: Kronotsky State Nature Reserve

With thermal waters, and the warming effect of the nearby Sea of Okhotsk, this unusual lake normally does not freeze over. But this year its famous Steller's sea eagles have been forced to relocate because the ice holes in which  they catch fish have frozen over. Two weeks of calm weather and low temperatures in February - of minus 20C - shackled the surface of the lake with a thick layer of ice.

Konstantin Lepsky, state inspector of the Kronotsky State Nature Reserve, said: 'When we patrolled the area, we walked along the lake in snowshoes for about 18 kilometres. 

Kurilskoye lake


Kurilskoye lake


Kurilskoye lake

 Konstantin Lepsky, state inspector of the Kronotsky State Nature Reserve: 'When we patrolled the area, we walked along the lake in snowshoes for about 18 kilometres.' Pictures: Kronotsky State Nature Reserve

'From the observation tower at Travyanoy we looked around the horizon in all directions. The lake was completely frozen. Only in the mouth of the River Hakytsin could we see a little ice hole, where ducks and swans were swimming, and Steller's sea eagles were spotted.'

Most of the birds were forced to relocate to Avacha Bay, near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The lake formed in a caldera after two large volcanic explosions, one 41,500 radiocarbon years ago and the other around 6440 BC.

Kurilskoye lake


Kurilskoye lake


Kurilskoye lake


Kurilskoye lake

'Only in the mouth of the River Hakytsin could we see a little ice hole, where ducks and swans were swimming, and Steller's sea eagles were spotted.' Picture: Kronotsky State Nature Reserve

It is the largest spawning ground for sockeye salmon in Eurasia, and a magnet for brown bears - as our pictures show. 

The lake is a national wildlife preserve and a national monument. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site among the world famous volcanoes of Kamchatka, also known as Russia's Land of Fire and Ice. 

Comments (1)

Beautiful landscapes, birds and....pictures! thanks
Jocelyne, FRANCE
01/03/2016 19:47
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