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Sikhote-Alin is the home to Amur tigers, which are amongst the largest felines in the world [1]
Highest point
Peak Tordoki Yani (Russia)
Elevation 2,090 m (6,860 ft)
Coordinates 45°20′N136°10′E / 45.333°N 136.167°E / 45.333; 136.167 Coordinates: 45°20′N136°10′E / 45.333°N 136.167°E / 45.333; 136.167
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Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Official name Central Sikhote-Alin
Type Natural
Criteria x
Designated 2001 (25th session)
Reference no. 766
Region Europe and North America

The Sikhote-Alin (Russian : Сихотэ́-Али́нь, Russian pronunciation:  [sʲɪxɐˈtɛ ɐˈlʲinʲ] , English: /ˈskəˌtəˈln/ , SEE-kə-TAY ə-LEEN) is a mountain range in Primorsky and Khabarovsk Krais, Russia, extending about 900 kilometres (560 mi) to the northeast of the Russian Pacific seaport of Vladivostok. The highest summits are Tordoki Yani at 2,077 metres (6,814 ft) above sea level, Ko Mountain (2,003 m) in Khabarovsk Krai and Anik Mountain (1,933 m) in Primorsky Krai.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although, nowadays, over two decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia, the rise of state-specific varieties of this language tends to be strongly denied in Russia, in line with the Russian World ideology.

Mountain range A geographic area containing several geologically related mountains

A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usually an orogeny. Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological processes, but most of the significant ones on Earth are the result of plate tectonics. Mountain ranges are also found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System and are likely a feature of most terrestrial planets.

Primorsky Krai First-level administrative division of Russia

Primorsky Krai (Russian: Примо́рский край, tr.Primorsky kray, IPA: [prʲɪˈmorskʲɪj kraj] is a federal subject of Russia, located in the Far East region of the country and is a part of the Far Eastern Federal District. The city of Vladivostok is the administrative center of the krai, as well as the largest city in the Russian Far East. The krai has the largest economy among the federal subjects in the Russian Far East, and a population of 1,956,497 as of the 2010 Census.



Although Sikhote-Alin is a temperate zone, species typical of northern taiga (such as reindeer and the Ussuri brown bear) coexist with the leopard, tiger and Asiatic black bear. The region holds very few wolves, due to competition with tigers. [2] The oldest tree in the region is a millennium-old Japanese yew. [3]

Taiga biome characterized by coniferous forests

Taiga, also known as boreal forest or snow forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and larches.

Reindeer A species of mammals belonging to the deer, muntjac, roe deer, and moose family of ruminants

The reindeer, also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, sub-Arctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North America. This includes both sedentary and migratory populations. Rangifer herd size varies greatly in different geographic regions. The Taimyr herd of migrating Siberian tundra reindeer in Russia is the largest wild reindeer herd in the world, varying between 400,000 and 1,000,000. What was once the second largest herd is the migratory boreal woodland caribou George River herd in Canada, with former variations between 28,000 and 385,000. As of January 2018, there are fewer than 9,000 animals estimated to be left in the George River herd, as reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The New York Times reported in April 2018 of the disappearance of the only herd of southern mountain caribou in the lower 48 states, with an expert calling it "functionally extinct" after the herd's size dwindled to a mere three animals.

Ussuri brown bear subspecies of mammal

The Ussuri brown bear, also known as the black grizzly is a subspecies of the brown bear. One of the largest brown bears, a very large Ussuri brown bear may approach the Kodiak bear in size.

The core zone can only be explored in a company of rangers.


The name is thought to be of Manchu origin (Manchu :alin "mountain").

Manchu is a critically endangered Tungusic language spoken in Manchuria; it was the native language of the Manchus and one of the official languages of the Qing dynasty (1636–1911) of China and in Inner Asia. Most Manchus now speak Mandarin Chinese. According to data from UNESCO, there are 10 native speakers of Manchu out of a total of nearly 10 million ethnic Manchus. Now, several thousand can speak Manchu as a second language through governmental primary education or free classes for adults in classrooms or online.

In the 1910s and 1920s, Sikhote-Alin was extensively explored by Vladimir Arsenyev (18721930) who described his adventures in several books, notably Dersu Uzala (1923), which in 1975 was turned into an Oscar-winning film by Akira Kurosawa. The large Sikhote-Alin and Lazo wildlife refuges were set up in 1935 to preserve the region's unusual wildlife.

Vladimir Arsenyev Russian and Soviet explorer, ethnographer and writer

Vladimir Klavdiyevich Arsenyev, was a Russian explorer of the Far East who recounted his travels in a series of books — "По Уссурийскому Краю" (1921) and "Дерсу Узала" (1923) — telling of his military journeys to the Ussuri basin with Dersu Uzala, a native hunter, from 1902 to 1907. He was the first to describe numerous species of Siberian flora and the lifestyles of native ethnic peoples.

Dersu Uzala Nanai hunter and explorer

Dersu Uzala was a Nanai trapper and hunter. He worked as a guide for Vladimir Arsenyev who immortalized him in his 1923 book Dersu Uzala. The book was adapted into two feature films, with the version by Akira Kurosawa being the better known.

Akira Kurosawa Japanese film director and screenwriter

Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese film director and screenwriter, who directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years. He is regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema.

On February 12, 1947, one of the largest meteor showers in recent history occurred in the Sikhote-Alin mountains. The Sikhote-Alin meteorite exploded in the atmosphere as it fell, raining many tons of metal on an elliptical region about 1.3 square kilometres (0.50 sq mi) in area. Craters were formed by the meteors; the largest was 26 metres (85 ft) in diameter.

Sikhote-Alin meteorite iron meteorite that fell in 1947 on the Sikhote-Alin Mountains in eastern Siberia

An iron meteorite fell on the Sikhote-Alin Mountains, in southeastern Russia, in 1947. Though large iron meteorite falls had been witnessed previously and fragments recovered, never before in recorded history had a fall of this magnitude been observed. An estimated 70 tonnes of material survived the fiery passage through the atmosphere and reached the Earth.

In 2001, UNESCO placed "Central Sikhote-Alin" onto the World Heritage List, citing its importance for "the survival of endangered species such as the scaly-sided (Chinese) merganser, Blakiston's fish-owl and the Amur tiger". The World Heritage site had a total area of 16,319 square kilometres (4,033,000 acres), of which the terrestrial core zone of Sikhote-Alin Zapovednik comprised 3,985 square kilometres (985,000 acres). [4] In 2018, the World heritage site was expanded by 11,605 square kilometres (2,868,000 acres) by including Bikin National Park under the name "Bikin River Valley". [5]

UNESCO Specialised agency of the United Nations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

Scaly-sided merganser species of bird

The scaly-sided merganser or Chinese merganser is an endangered typical merganser. It lives in temperate East Asia, breeding in the north and wintering in the south.

Blakistons fish owl species of bird

Blakiston's fish owl, the largest living species of owl, is a fish owl, a sub-group of eagle owls which specialize in hunting in riparian areas. This species is a part of the family known as typical owls (Strigidae) which contains most species of owl. Blakiston's fish owl and three related species were previously placed in the genus Ketupa; mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data is equivocal on which of the two genus names is applied for this species. Its habitat is riparian forest, with large, old trees for nest-sites, near lakes, rivers, springs and shoals that don't freeze in winter. Henry Seebohm named this bird after the English naturalist Thomas Blakiston, who collected the original specimen in Hakodate on Hokkaidō, Japan in 1883.

Related Research Articles

Russian Far East Geographic region

The Russian Far East comprises the Russian part of the Far East - the extreme eastern territory of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean. The Far Eastern Federal District, which covers this area, borders with the Siberian Federal District to the west. The Far Eastern Federal District has land borders with the People's Republic of China, Mongolia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the south west. It has maritime borders with Japan and with the United States. Although traditionally considered part of Siberia, the Russian Far East is categorized separately from Siberia in Russian regional schemes.

Siberian tiger subspecies of mammal

The Siberian tiger is a tiger population in the Far East, particularly the Russian Far East and Northeast China. This population inhabits mainly the Sikhote Alin mountain region in southwest Primorye Province in the Russian Far East. The Siberian tiger once ranged throughout Korea, north China, Russian Far East, and eastern Mongolia. In 2005, there were 331–393 adult and subadult Siberian tigers in this region, with a breeding adult population of about 250 individuals. The population had been stable for more than a decade due to intensive conservation efforts, but partial surveys conducted after 2005 indicate that the Russian tiger population was declining. An initial census held in 2015 indicated that the Siberian tiger population had increased to 480–540 individuals in the Russian Far East, including 100 cubs. This was followed up by a more detailed census which revealed there was a total population of 562 wild Siberian tigers in Russia.

Ussuri River river which runs through Russia and China

The Ussuri River or Wusuli River, runs through Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krais, Russia, and the southeast region of Northeast China. It rises in the Sikhote-Alin mountain range, flowing north and forming part of the Sino-Russian border until it joins the Amur River as a tributary to it at Khabarovsk. It is approximately 897 kilometers (557 mi) long. The Ussuri River drains the Ussuri basin, which covers 193,000 square kilometers (75,000 sq mi). Its waters come from rain (60%), snow (30–35%) and subterranean springs. The average discharge is 1,150 cubic metres per second (41,000 cu ft/s) and the average elevation is 1,682 metres (5,518 ft).

Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve

Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve is a biosphere reserve in Primorsky Krai. It is an important reserve for the endangered Siberian tiger.

Amba River is a river in Primorsky Krai.

Wildlife of Russia

The wildlife of Russia inhabits terrain that extends across 12 time zones and from the tundra region in the far north to the Caucasus Mountains and prairies in the south, including temperate forests which cover 70% of the country's territory. Russia's forests comprise 22% of the forest in the world as well as 33% of all temperate forest in the world.

Tiger tail

A tiger tail is part of the morphology of a tiger.

Temperate rainforests of the Russian Far East

The temperate rainforests of the Russian Far East are found within the Russian states of Primorsky Krai and Khabarovski Krai and contains the Sikhote-Alin mountain range. Found within the Russian Federation, this area is one of the most productive and diverse forests in the world and also contains one of the highest endangered species densities on Earth. While most temperate rainforests around the world have retained only a fraction of their historical range, these forests maintain the majority of their former range and almost all of their historical biodiversity. The region is also notable for having what has become the last remaining large tract of viable habitat for the critically endangered Amur tiger and Amur leopard.

Zov Tigra National Park

Zov Tigra National Park ), is a mountainous refuge for the endangered Amur Tiger. The park encompasses an area of 83,384 hectares on the southeast coast of Russia's Far East in the federal district Primorsky Krai. The park is about 100 km northeast of Vladivostok, on both the eastern and western slopes of the southern Sikhote-Alin mountain range, a range that runs north-south through the Primorsky Krai. The relatively warm waters of the Sea of Japan are to the east, the Korean peninsula to the south, and China to the West. The terrain in rugged and difficult to access, with heavily forested taiga coexisting with tropical species of animals and birds. The park is relatively isolated from human development, and functions as a conservation reserve. Tourists may visit the portions of the park marked for recreation, but entry to the protected zones is only possible in the company of park rangers.

Anyuysky National Park

Anyuysky National Park, covers the basin of the Anyuy River, on the west slope of the Central Sikhote-Alin Mountain range in the Russian Far East. The Anyuy flows west into the Amur River, the main river of the region, as it flows northeast into the Sea of Okhotsk. The park is important because it creates an ecological corridor from the low floodplain of the Amur, to the high forested mountains of the Sikhote-Alin. The park is in the Nanaysky District in Khabarovsk Krai, about 50 miles downstream of the city of Khabarovsk. The area is remote, with few towns and sparse population. The area has historically depended on salmon fishing, logging, and hunting. The local indigenous people are the Nanai people, representing about a quarter of the nearby settlements.

Udegeyskaya Legenda National Park

Udegeyskaya Legenda National Park covers the richest coniferous-deciduous forest on the western slope of the Central Sikhote-Alin mountains of the Russian Far East. The Sikhote-Alin is a range that runs north-south through Primorsky Krai. The park is designed to protect west-slope river valley habitat, and to support the remnant of the indigenous Udege people. The area is known for abundant fishing and boating on the streams and rivers. It is also a refuge for the endangered Amur tiger. The park is roughly midway between the city of Vladivostok, and Khabarovsk. The relatively warm waters of the Sea of Japan are to the east, the Korean peninsula to the south, and China to the West.

Bikin National Park

Bikin National Park was created on November 3, 2015 to protect the largest remaining old-growth mixed forest in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as the territory of 10% of all Amur tigers in the wild. The park was also created for the purpose of protecting the forest culture of the 600 indigenous inhabitants of the Bikin River Basin living in the territory - Udeghes and Nanai people. Because of its size for pristine forest, and its characterization as a "temperate rain forest", it has an important status as a center for biodiversity of both plants and animals.The park sits in the administrative region of Pozharsky District, in Primorsky Krai in the Russian Far East on the west slope of the Sikhote-Alin mountains. The Bikin River Valley is also a World Heritage site.

Lazovsky Nature Reserve

Lazovski Nature Reserve is a Russian 'zapovednik' that sits on the southeastern slopes of the Sikhote-Alin mountain range, down to the coast of the Sea of Japan, in Primorsky Krai in the Russian Far East about 150 km due east of Vladivostok. The reserve is 95% forested, with the largest stand of yew trees in the Russian Far East, and has been the subject of scientific study since the 1800s for its rich communities of plants and animals found in the transition mountain to maritime zones in a temperate, rainy forest. Lazonvsky Reserve contains more species than any other reserve in the Russian Far East, and 60% of the species in the Priomorky region are found on the reserve. It is jointly managed with the Zov Tigra National Park, located about 50 km to the northwest. The reserve is situated entirely within the Lazovsky District of Primorsky Krai. The reserve was created in 1957, and covers an area of 120,989 ha (467.14 sq mi).

Botcha Nature Reserve

Botcha Nature Reserve is a Russian 'zapovednik'. It is the northernmost reserve inhabited by the endangered Amur Tiger. The reserve is located in the north-eastern part of the Sikhote-Alin mountain range; it includes the Botchi River basin on its eastern slopes. The reserve is about 120 km south of the port city of Sovetskaya Gavan in the Sovetsko-Gavansky District of Khabarovsk Krai. The reserve was created in 1994, and covers an area of 267,380 ha (1,032.4 sq mi).

Ussurisky Nature Reserve

Ussurisky Nature Reserve is a Russian 'zapovednik' that protects one of the remaining virgin mixed deciduous-conifer forests in the Primorsky (Maritime) region of the Russian Far East. The mountainous terrain is located on a southern spur of the Sikhote-Alin Mountains, in the upper reaches of the Komarovka River, about 50 km northeast of the city of Vladivostok. The reserve is named after Vladimir L. Komarov, an important early botanist and early explorer of the Primorsky region. The Ussursisky Reserve is situated in the Shkotovsky District of Primorsky Krai.

Okhotsk-Manchurian taiga

The Okhotsk-Manchurian taiga ecoregion is an area of coniferous forests in the Russian Far East, covering the Amur River delta, the west coast of the Okhotsk Sea, and the rugged extension of the northern Sikhote-Alin Mountains that run southwest-to-northeast through the Primorsky and Khabarovsk regions. It is the southernmost taiga forest in Eurasia. The ecoregion is distinguished from surrounding ecoregions by the slightly warmer climate due to the maritime influence and the shield of the mountains to the west, and by the mixing of flora and fauna species from Okhotsk-Kamchatka communities to the north and Manchurian species from the south. The forest at lower altitudes is "light taiga", and "dark taiga" at higher altitudes.

Ussuri broadleaf and mixed forests Ecoregion in Russian Far East

The Ussuri broadleaf and mixed forests ecoregion covers a mountainous areas above the lower Amur River and Ussuri River in Primorsky Krai and Khabarovsk Krai in the Russian Far East. The ecoregion is in the Palearctic ecozone, with a Humid Continental climate. It covers 187,357 km2 (72,339 sq mi).


  1. Slaght, J. C., D. G. Miquelle, I. G. Nikolaev, J. M. Goodrich, E. N. Smirnov, K. Traylor-Holzer, S. Christie, T. Arjanova, J. L. D. Smith, Karanth, K. U. (2005) Chapter 6. Who's king of the beasts? Historical and recent body weights of wild and captive Amur tigers, with comparisons to other subspecies. Pages 25–35 in: Miquelle, D.G., Smirnov, E.N., Goodrich, J.M. (Eds.) Tigers in Sikhote-Alin Zapovednik: Ecology and Conservation. PSP, Vladivostok, Russia (in Russian)
  2. "Tigers and Wolves in the Russian Far East: Competitive Exclusion, Functional Redundancy, and Conservation Implications". Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-09-29. Nature Monument "Sikhote - Alin". Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation "UTES" (in Russian)
  4. "Central Sikhote-Alin - Russian Federation" (PDF). United Nations Environment Programme
  5. "Bikin River Valley". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 July 2018.