Sailugemsky National Park
Republic of Altai, Kosh-Agach region
The national park Sailugemsky was established at the beginning of 2010. The main purpose of it was to preserve and reproduce rare and endangered objects of Flora and Fauna which are found in the Red book of the Russian Federation. There are the largest subspecies of argali in the park – Altai argali and snow leopard. The protected area consists of 3 sectors: “Sailugem”, “Ulandrick” and “Argut”. The south border of Sailugem and Ulandrik is the state border of the Russian Federation and Mongolia.
Features of natural environment
Sailugem is a mountain ridge in the south-east of Altai on the border of republic of Altai and Mongolia. It has a length of 130 kilometres and is situated at 3499 meters above sea level (the town Sarjemati). It is a watershed between the sources of the Argut and the Chuya rivers (Ob basin) and the rivers of Kobdo basin.
Climate is rigorous, sharply continental (the temperature may drop to -62°Ñ). Frost-free period lasts for 35-60 days. In the park there are about 300 lakes of different origin and 17 glaciers.
Glacial water and precipitation supply the rivers Djaza, Tarchata and Chagan-Burgazi. Their valleys are based on confluence of two other rivers Karasa and Sarjemata. The valleys are situated at more than 2000 meters above sea level. Forest does not cover the territory of the park but high snow-capped mountains definitely make up for this esthetic disadvantage. Lichen and rocky tundra prevails in highlands while steppe areas appear in southern slopes lower 2600 meters. Desertified steppes go high into the mountains forming various types of tundra-steppe which may coexist with wetlands, rock placer deposits and rocks. Herbaceous and lichen-herbaceous tundra is prevalent here.
Subalpine and alpine meadows may be found rarely, they occupy a small area. In steep slopes we may come across savin juniper. Other types of vegetation (marches, salt marches, rocks) are not widespread.
Diversity of Flora and Fauna
There are the largest subspecies of argali – Altai argali and snow leopard (ounce) in the park. In the middle and the bottom course of the river Argut the largest group consisting of 30-40 animal units or a quarter of the country’s population may be found. In addition to that, a specially protected natural area aims at maintaining of one of the largest groups of Siberian ibex and sacor falkon in Altan-Sayan ecoregion.
The vegetation of the park includes a great number of rare species with limited distribution area. One of them is astragalus, different species of which may be found in the Red book of Republic of Altai.
Speaking about Mammals, in the park we may find small burrowing relatives of hares (Pallas and Daurian pika, tolai hare) as well as mouse-like rodents – striped and dwarf hamsters, Mongolian vole and others.
As for Passeriformes, we may come across brown accentor, rosy finch, snow finch, Pere David’s snow finch, chough and others. In the park many large birds including birds of prey may be observed.
Rare animals, 19 species may be found in the Red Book of Republic of Altai:
- Insects: Parnassian
- Birds: upland buzzard, steppe eagle, golden eagle, black vulture, griffon vulture, bearded vulture, sacer falcon, Altai snowcock, mountain patridge and eagle-owl nesting in niches of rocks.
- Mammals. In the park we may come across a unique species of brown bear. It is special because it inhabits in absolutely bare and devoid of forest mountains. This species was named Sailugem brown bear. In the park there is a small wild cat – manul that cannot be found in other protected areas of Republic of Altai. You may be lucky to see Mongolian gazelle at present time completely disappearing from the territory of Russia.
What to see
In the valley the camp “Sarjemati” of tribal community of telengits named “Edelveis” is situated. This camp is located at 2000 meters above the sea level at the foot of the mountain Kruglaya. Not far from the camp is the mountain “Chernaya”.