Pearls of nature
Teberdinsk Natural Biospheric National Reserve.
There is a scenic Caucasian nook with high mountains covered with woods and emerald meadows, snow-white peaks, impetuous rivers, fantastically beautiful high-mountainous lakes, pearl strings of waterfalls, magnificent vegetation and various fauna as in live museum of nature. This is Teberdinsk Reserve.
Its territory lies in highlands, occupying the upper part of the Teberda River basin. It is a border zone between the Central and North-Western Caucasus. A separate territory of the reserve is located in the Kizgych Canyon, the Kizgych River runs into the Big Zelenchuk. The total area of the reserve is more than 80 thousand hectares. The altitude range changes from 1260 to 4047 metres above sea level.
The relief is various - it is softer in the northern part, where peach stone and red sandstone prevail; and it is much sharper in the granite zone that occupies the rest, biggest part of its territory. 100 glaciers form 10% of all the reserve's territories. The largest of them are found on The Main Caucasian Ridge: these are: Alibeksk, Amanauzsk, Ptyshsk, Bu-Ulgensk, Tchotchinsk, Khokelsk glaciers.
Due to sharp character of the relief snow avalanches are very common in the reserve. Especially in Dombai and Gonachkhirsk Canyon. All the territory of the reserve is covered by a net of big and small rivers and numerous mountain lakes.
The total number of rivers that run through the reserve is 30, and all of them are confluents of the main local river - the Teberda. Mountain streams form waterfalls different in size, the biggest ones are: Alibeksk, Chuchkhursk, Khutyisk. 130 lakes of the reserve are covered with ice and snow for the most part of a year. The biggest lake here is the Blue Ullu-Murudzhinsk, it is 52 m deep and its area is 18 hectares.
Local climate in mild, moderately damp, with cool summers and relatively warm winters. By the number of sunny days and salubrious effect it stands out among other world-famous reserves. 1260 species of plants grow in this rather small territory, 235 of them are Caucasian endemics. 24 species are registered in The Red Book.
43 species of mammals populate the reserve's territory. Caucasian goat is one of the most typical representatives of local fauna. A peculiar feature of these animals - big acinaciform horns that are 1 metre long and 30 centimetres around at the bottom (for old males). Heavy males (sometimes 150 kg) easily jump over wide cracks, move across stony slide-rocks, glaciers and snowfields.
Chamois is another representative of mountain ungulate animals. It, like Caucasian goat, gracefully moves over mountainsides, but it tends more to the wood zone though in summertime you hardly can find it in subalpine and alpine meadows. The reserved regime helps to preserve valuable species of animals - Caucasian red deers. A wild boar is a common animal of the reserve. It lives in coniferous and beech woods. A bison is a pride of the reserve; it is one of the biggest European animals. 14 of these unique animals were brought to the valley of the Kizgych River in 1968. Their descendants born in natural conditions nowadays turned into real wild animals.
A brown bear is the most typical beast of prey in the reserve. A strong and dexterous wolf is another predator of the reserve. Wolves climb mountain ridges and rocks. They trap and usually easily catch animals that fall behind a herd: deer, chamoises, goats. Lynxes also live in the reserve, but they are not numerous. Martens, badgers, otters, wild wood cats, ermines and weasels are found here as well. Fox is the most numerous local predator. 170 species of birds live in the reserve. 87 species among them are nesting birds. In spring, when summer visitors arrive, settled birds begin propagation. The woods of the reserve become a real empire of birds. Caucasian black grouse is one of the most remarkable birds of the reserve. It is an endemic Caucasian species. You cannot meet this bird anywhere except for the Caucasus. Caucasian black grouses populate a narrow strip in the top of the wood zone, because both, woods and meadows are equally vital for their life.
Ular is another representative of Gallinaceae, earlier it was called a mountain turkey. It is the biggest bird of this group in the Caucasus. Their maximum weight is 2-3 kg (for mates). Ulars live in the upper storey of mountains. They feed only on vegetative food. Ulars are bad flyers, so they usually run away uphill. Griffon-vultures and griffins are the biggest birds of prey. Griffon-vultures weigh up to 12,5 kg; the wingspan is almost 3 meters. Griffins are just a little smaller. Both predators feed exclusively on carrion. Reptiles are less numerous but not less interesting. There are only 3 species of lizards and 3 species of snakes in the reserve.
So the nature of the reserve is very rich and various. 700 thousand people annually visit the reserve; this fact proves an extreme interest of this picturesque excursion area. Even a walk in the nearest neighbourhood of the resort is rather exciting. Teberdi, perhaps, is the only resort of the country where you can make so many cognitive and fascinating tourist trips and excursions. Exceptional riches and variety of environment of this particular area, as well as the highest tourist potential, cannot be compared to any other place on the earth. In the central manor, in Teberda, you can visit a museum of nature and open-air cages with wild animals. Tourists, who visit reserve, gain health and spiritual wealth that is generously given by unique and well-preserved nature of Teberdinsk Reserve.
Address: Teberda, Karachaevo-Cherkessia Rep., Russia, 357192