Primorye is home to 6 nature reserves, 3 national parks, 1 nature park, and many wildlife sanctuaries. You won’t be able to find this many protected areas in any other region in Russia. Why so many? To protect the tigers? The leopards? The ginseng? The majestic nature? The unique lakes? Or the Pink lily, a flower that grows only on the sea cliffs of the Khasan district?
Primorye is a habitat for one of the most precious tropical butterflies — the Swallowtail Maak. In fact, it is the largest butterfly in Russia. These butterflies are everywhere: along the riverbanks, in gardens, and in blooming meadows. But, should the Amur cork tree ever disappear from the Taiga, the swallowtail butterfly will also vanish, because its caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of the cork tree.
Established in 1916, the first Kedrovaya Pad’ Reserve is located on the Peschany peninsula. Here you can see the nature of the Muravyov-Amur peninsula in its pristine form, just like it was before the first settlement. This reserve saved the world’s last 10-15 leopards. These leopards required more territory to thrive, and as a result, in 2012 the Kedrovaya Pad’ Reserve became a part of the Land of the Leopard National Park.
Two other reserves were created for endangered tigers: The Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, which has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the Lazovsky Nature Reserve, which was created to protect the spotted deer and goral population. Lazovsky Nature Reserve was also included in the USSURI Heritage List. The Call of the Tiger National Park was established a little bit later.
The Udegeyskaya Legenda National Park protects the Taiga Forest from overzealous lumberjacks, preserving the land for the communities of the native people of Primorye.
The creation of the Khanka Reserve prevented the pristine meadows from becoming pastures for cattle to graze upon. The Khanka Reserve also preserves the unique freshwater and marine lagoons and lakes for fish and makes it a place of recreation for nomadic birds.
Until you come across a “National Park” sign, you will not even realize that you are actually in a park or reserve, because these lands are preserved not from you, but FOR you.