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электронный журнал "Новые исследования Тувы"

Nature park Shuiskiy - "cradle of the snow leopard" - was established in Tuva

Nature park of regional significance "Shuiskiy" was established on the territory of two districts of Tuva, which have been recognized as some of the ecologically cleanest places on Earth. Today, the decision was made by the government of the republic. The park was created under the statute of specially protected natural territory on an ecological-economic basis presented by Tuvan institute of complex research of natural resources (TIKOPR) . It is located on the area of Barun-Khemchik and Bai-Taiga  district with a total area of 98 thousand hectares. For the park administration, Tuvan government assigned 16 state units, subjected to ministry of natural resources and ecology of the republic.

As Grigoriy Ondar, the vice-minister of  natural resources and ecology of Tuva, announced, the aim of the park is to preserve the unique landscapes in their original condition, protection of  fauna and flora, as well as satisfaction of the needs of the population for recreational services and development of ecologic tourism.  Activities that could harm to ecologic, esthetic, cultural and recreational value of the territory are prohibited or limited on  the territory of the park. The prohibition concerns, in particular, hunting and farming work (aside from preparation of hay and bee-keeping), utilization of  mineral resources, tree-felling,  and industrial collection of berries, mushrooms and medicinal herbs.

The conditions of protection vary depending on the functional zones of the park - specially protected, balneologic, recreational, or economic purpose. Specially protected zone takes up 43.2% of the park. Balneologic zone is 2.7% of the park territory, and is limited to the surface area of radon spring Dustug-Khem. These zones will keep the strictest regime of protection - it is, for example, prohibited to disrupt the ground cover, and to allow passage of cattle; the zone can be entered only with a special written permit by the administration.  The recreational part is 53.9% of the area, and a certain relaxation of rules, of the type of tourist bivouacs, marking of trails and paths, cattle grazing, etc., are allowed. Amateur hunting is also allowed in certain areas, according to quotas determined by the park administration.

146 hectares of the economic zone will hold the administrative objects of the park, as well as tourist camps with the necessary infrastructure.

The choice of this territory for a nature park is explained by the fact that according to experts of WWF, Western Tuva is one of ecologically cleanest places on this planet. The nature park will be located at the junction of Shapshal and Tsagan-Shibetu ranges, and will border on Altai government biospheric natural preserve. This is the habitat of the snow leopard, ular, Altai mountain sheep - arkhar, as well as the home of a crucial group of snow leopard in Russia, numbering in total 10-15 individuals.

Another  species of a rare animal lives on Mongolian border  - argali.

Nature has given this small high mountain territory a large spectrum of natural landscapes: taiga, forested steppe, high mountain tundra, cliff massifs, and multiple rivers and lakes. This is the area of "Ubsunur preserve", where the chief and most vivid regional natural monuments are located. Tourists call this area "White fortress" or "Shui ring".

Every year, several hundred alpinists of Siberian region meet in the mountain tops of south of this planned natural park. There is a cultural and natural monument located in Bai-Taiga - village Kyzyl-Dag, where there are deposits of agalmatolit,  which is now known all over the world, where Tuvan folk art of stone carving was born.

Until the present time, the area has escaped destructive urbanization and has kept its picturesque unique landscapes, which allows it to be the center of alpinism, mountain and horseback tourism and mass active recreation at mineral springs Shivilig, Dustug-Khem, Bel and Changys-Terek, which are natural monuments., translated by Heda Jindrak
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