Where To Get Acquainted With The Baikal Seal

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Where To Get Acquainted With The Baikal Seal
Where To Get Acquainted With The Baikal Seal

Video: Where To Get Acquainted With The Baikal Seal

Video: Where To Get Acquainted With The Baikal Seal
Video: #LakeBaikal Virtual trip to the Baikal seal (5.2K 360 VIDEO) 2023, June

The Baikal seal, also known as a seal, is a symbol of Baikal, a national star. There is not a single souvenir shop or market where trinkets with the image of this cute animal are not sold: whistles, key chains, magnets, fur toys, clay figurines and figurines made of Baikal stones are littered with all the counters. Tourists from all over the world strive to see the seal, the legend of the lake, alive.

Between us nerpies …
Between us nerpies …

Meeting with a seal at the Baikal Limnological Museum

The first point where a seal seeker should direct his feet is the Baikal Limnological Museum in the village of Listvyanka, an hour's drive from Irkutsk. It is best to use the services of guides, professionals in their field. They will enthusiastically tell a lot about the museum's exhibits, share unique facts that are not found in every encyclopedia, and will gladly answer any questions about the origin of Lake Baikal, its unique flora and rich fauna.

Moving along the exposition, past numerous scarecrows, including the long-suffering seal, you should not get upset ahead of time. In the farthest room, in the semi-darkness, there is a real surprise - aquariums with the living inhabitants of the lake. Water comes to the reservoirs from the depths of the Baikal, so all living things feel at home, in their native element.

The owner of the museum will welcome her guests cordially, examining them with curiosity and posing in front of camera lenses. The only condition for shooting is the absence of a flash, because it can scare and blind animals.

You can stand at the aquariums endlessly: the smooth slide of overly well-fed carcasses in the water is simply mesmerizing, and their pretty faces evoke touching emotions not only in children, but also in adults.

Baikal seals in nerpinaria

Those wishing to see a seal on Lake Baikal should definitely visit the seal. There are three to choose from: in Irkutsk, in Listvyanka and in summer - in the village of Sakhyurta, not far from the ferry to Olkhon Island. Once there, it is easy to make sure: the seal is not only valuable fur, but also 50-120 kg of positive. If in scientific circles these animals are officially called Pusa sibirica, then in the midst of numerous fans they call them in a simple way, lovingly - "dogs".

Pinniped artists win hearts with their talents: they count, kick a ball, sing, dance lambada, paint pictures, demonstrate the wonders of acrobatics. Seals love attention, they love to show off, play pranks, splashing water, and each time they expect recognition in the form of applause from the audience and fish encouragement from the trainer, who along the way reveals many facts from the life of these charming creatures. For example, that they are sleeping under water, they can hold their breath for up to sixty minutes and are able to suspend pregnancy, temporarily immersing the fetus in a state of hibernation.

Performances are held every hour with a fifteen-minute break. Thanks to constant training, these seals are much slimmer than those that idly live in the aquariums of the Limnological Museum. But despite this, their fates are similar: all animals were born free. They were found helpless by seals by accidental travelers on the spring ice of Lake Baikal, and, fearing an attack by crows, they could no longer throw the "cute" snow-white lumps with huge bottomless eyes to their fate.

Not so long ago, the first cub was born in the Listvyanskiy nerpinary. The joy of the specialists knew no bounds, because it was an unprecedented case when, in captivity, the Baikal seals brought offspring. All conditions were created for the woman in labor, but, alas, the maternal instinct did not wake up in her, and the cub lasted only a day on artificial feeding.

Seals on the Ushkany Islands


One of the favorite places, which the seals chose as their rookeries, occupied and turned into a small kingdom of seals - the Ushkaniy archipelago, consisting of four islands. This natural monument belongs to Buryatia, is protected by the state and is part of the Trans-Baikal National Park. Therefore, tourists cannot land on the islands without official permission. There are no indigenous people there, only huntsmen and employees of the meteorological station and the lighthouse.

These islands are very picturesque: three-hundred-year-old larch and pine trees with curved trunks and unusual crowns, birch trees with black bark, giant anthills at every step, rocks with caves in which the sites of primitive man were found, rocky shores, decorated in spring with the wild flowering of unique shrubs, coastal boulders of pinkish and green marble, polished by the Baikal wave …

Seals also love to admire the views here. In clear weather they come here from all corners of Lake Baikal to sunbathe, soak up the smooth warm boulders, sitting either compactly, in groups, or imposingly, one by one, while showing satisfied muzzles.

The Ushkany Islands are a kind of seal barber and spa center. There the puffs recuperate after a successful hunt, rest, doze, shed, sometimes combing each other's fur with their claws, and, perhaps, even communicate with each other about their own, about the seal.

Observing them, you can notice: how clumsy and amusing these animals are on land, so dexterous and graceful in the water. From their warm places, they instantly slide into the water, as soon as the slightest noise occurs. Seals are very shy, but at the same time curious. They often spy on tourists from the water, sticking their heads out, but they are ready at any moment to wave their flippers and retreat. Being short-sighted, these animals have an acute hearing, so it is recommended to be quiet, avoid loud conversations and enthusiastic exclamations, no matter what the cost.

Many tourists want to see the relaxing carcasses of seals, although the pleasure is not cheap. At the same time, no one can guarantee that the culprits of the event will appear in the field of view, but in sunny, calm weather, the chances increase rapidly.

In order for the desired meeting to take place, excursion boats are hired on Olkhon Island or in the village of Ust-Barguzin, where you can get permission to visit the protected archipelago. Sometimes tourists observe the habits of animals directly from the boat, but if permission is received, then you can safely go ashore and, accompanied by inspectors of the national park, follow the ecological path to the observation deck. And there, hiding behind a camouflage net, for 30 minutes without a flash, you can take pictures of unsuspecting models.

The seals in the Ushkany archipelago have been completely monitored: thanks to cameras installed on one of the islands, they are broadcasting in real time in the Baikal Limnological Museum.

Seals on Olkhon

You can also meet seals on Lake Baikal in other regions. Even in crowded places, sometimes curious faces flicker in the water. But they prefer to go to the steep shore at a distance respectable from people.

Another favorite point of the seal colony is the foot of the rocky island of Olkhon, especially in the area of Cape Khoboy. The way there is tiresome and extreme in Russian because of the bad roads. Fanned by many legends, Khoboy rises above the water surface as a stern colossus, as if a fantastic beast. Some see in its outlines the profile of a maiden petrified with envy, others - a fang dropped by a flying dragon. This zone of strong geomagnetic activity, where, according to the stories of local residents, the line between the world of people and the world of spirits is especially thin, has become a place of pilgrimage for representatives of many theological schools, including followers of the Roerich movement.

Seals also love to meditate here. But in order to witness this spectacle, you need a wide smile of Fortune, keen eyesight or photographic equipment with good magnification. Standing on the top of the cape and shy from the dizzying heights, you can see the seals below, spread out on the coastal stones or floating in pristine clear water. Inaccessible to humans, animals feel at ease.

Seals may not appear to travelers, but Cape Khoboy, like other beautiful rocks included in the Northern Ring of Olkhon, is a must-visit and will give you an unforgettable experience.

Race with a seal

Diving is another great chance to meet a seal. On Baikal there are diving schools and many dive sites, doors to the mysterious underwater world of the legendary lake, including near Olkhon, Listvyanka, Ushkany Islands.

You can dive all year round, but ice diving in February will give you the most extraordinary experience. At this time, the ice is strong, which will allow you to dive at a respectable distance from the coast, and unusually transparent, so that through it you can see what is happening on the other side.

The illusion of floating in zero gravity is created under water, and the visibility is amazing. At the sight of ice tunnels, labyrinths and figures, the sculptor of which is Baikal itself, stone canyons, grottoes, marble blocks, heaps, overgrown with a sponge, and the gaping abyss underfoot, breath stops with admiration.

This quiet, virgin world is the kingdom of the seal, her home, and if you are very lucky, you will be able to meet the very mistress of the lake. Then you can safely consider yourself lucky and make a wish that will surely come true. Photohunting is legal and, having prudently armed with equipment, it will be possible to diversify your personal archive with unique photographs.

There are many opportunities for acquaintance with seals on Lake Baikal. Regardless of where it happens, an abundance of positive emotions from communicating with these pretty creatures is guaranteed.

And finally …

Contact with seals is life-threatening

In the event of a spring meeting with a seal cub, a white seal, in the wild, specialists from the Aquarium of the Baikal Seals and the Baikal Nature Reserve warn:

  1. Before touching the baby, you should make sure that he is really lost and there are no ice vents or a den nearby. As a last resort, you can contact the Limnological Museum or the nerpinarium for further instructions.
  2. Picking up fluffies and carrying them from place to place is dangerous to their lives. Firstly, a seal mother may not find a cub or simply be frightened of a person. In stressful situations, the seal loses milk, and the self-preservation instinct prevails over the maternal one. The seals will not survive without parental care; they still cannot swim and feed on fish.
  3. An irrepressible desire to stroke a charming creature that looks like a stuffed toy can also turn into disaster. The immunity of the cubs is weak, because they are born under sterile conditions, on the purest ice of Lake Baikal, and human microbes can be fatal for them.
  4. In no case should you be photographed with seals, they can lose their eyesight from camera flashes.

This fragile beauty must be admired from afar, fearing to disturb the peace and disrupt the natural course of things, provided by nature. Squirrels for happiness do not need any "calf" tenderness, nor likes in social networks. Much more important for them is the simple non-intervention of a person, the care of the seal mother and the cleanliness of the natural habitat.

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