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Summer wildflowers at Chabda Republic Resource Reserve

Hooded Crane at Chabda Republic Resource Reserve




Chabda and Kuoluma-Chappanda Republic Resource Reserves, Russia to Celebrate Ten Year Anniversary

by Maria Vladimirtseva and Inga Bysykatova

The Republic Resource Reserves Chabda in Ust-Mayski Ulus and Kuoluma-Chappanda in Tattinski Ulus were established on May 5, 1999 by the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) Government. It was decided to support these territories, covering 853,735.8 hа and 580,133 ha respectively, for wildlife conservation goals, including protection of key bird areas along the flyways of the Siberian Crane, Baikal Teal, Lesser White-fronted Goose, and breeding territories of the Hooded Crane, Black Stork, Golden Eagle and other birds.

Maya River, Chabda Republic Resource Reserve

During the UNEP/GEF Siberian Crane Wetland Project (SCWP) Midterm Review Chabda and Kuoluma-Chappanda, together with adjacent Republic Resource Reserve Kyupski, were added to the project as the unified key site named Middle Aldan.  Middle Aldan, southeastern Yakutia, is a very attractive site. Every visitor has been excited with the bright colors of endemic flowers Sardanas and blue waters of the rivers Aldan, Amga, Maya, Chabda, Kuoluma, Nohu and other great and small rivers, intersecting and embracing Middle Aldan and serving as main routes for nature inspectors and others who visits these places. So, the main transport here is by motor boat. Researchers who need to walk here find it is extremely hard because of plenty of tussocks, swampy ground, and very dense underbrush of the taiga.

Kyupsky Republic Resource Reserve

The main base of Chabda is situated near a strikingly beautiful place where the Chabda River falls to the Maya River and has been used by nature protection inspectors, meteorological workers, and biologists. In the summer Chabda base turns into an education camp for students from the closest settlement’s schools. It is really a place for a soul’s rest – it is 92 km by river from the central Ust-Mayski Ulus settlement, Ust-Maya.

Evenk maypole at Chabda Republic Resource Reserve

The base of Kuoluma-Chappanda is a much wilder place. Here you will feel the presence of a bear everywhere. The Lake Eselyakh (means Bear’s Lake in the Yakutian language) is the place where nature inspector Peter Tokumov saw migrating Siberian Cranes feeding. Peter made the vertical stairs from larch twigs, 15-20 meters high, on the mount near Eselyakh, to watch crane migration and transit stops!  It is not a very suitable place for visiting by students, but Kuoluma-Chappanda inspector Peter Maximov regularly teaches about the environment to students in Tattinski Ulus central settlement Ytyk-Quel.

Lake Eselyakh in the Kuoluma-Chappanda Republic Resource Reserve

During the SCWP in Yakutia, research in Chabda and Kuoluma-Chappanda provided data on the character of Siberian Crane migrations and description of transit wetlands for our general database. So, Peter Tokumov could watch and collect important data on transit stops of Siberian Cranes in Kuoluma-Chappanda, and scientist Victor Degtyarev – the same data in Chabda. Most of the Reserve staff participate in waterbird counts every spring and fall migrations.

SCWP consultants and scientists Victor Degtyarev and Vasily Okoneshnikov, and Chabda Inspector for Nature Protection, Ivan Davydov, could do actually impossible thing – to find the nest of Hooded Crane among extremely dense and swampy taiga, in 2007 – almost 20 years after the last observation of a Hooded Crane nest in Yakutia. Everyone could watch Hooded Cranes from nearest breeding pair flying close to the Chabda base, but nobody knew – where was the nest?

Valley in the Kuoluma-Chappanda Republic Resource Reserve where
Siberian Cranes stop during migration and Hooded Cranes nest.

For this time, representatives of the Project Regional Coordination Unit, Crawford Prentice and Mikhail Stishov, visited Chabda, and Russian Coordination Unit, Julia Gorelova and Alexey Blagovidov, visited Kuoluma-Chappanda, and could appreciate the importance of these reserves’ conservation role. They had meetings with Rudolf Baryshev and Georgy Nikolayev, Heads of Ust-Mayiski and Tattinski Inspections for Nature Protection, to develop future plans for insurance of appropriate management in Middle Aldan Reserves and support of achievement of the project results.

This year our loved Chabda and Kuoluma-Chappanda celebrate their 10th anniversaries, and we are happy to wish Happy Birthday for these wonderful Reserves on May, 5, 2009. They are so young now, and we wish them to live forever, and to have many new brothers and sisters - protected areas, to conserve migratory birds along their flyway wherever in the world.

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