Lake Baikal holds 20% of the world’s freshwater. In addition, the Siberian taiga which hugs its northern end has 22% of the world’s trees. It is therefore no surprise that this is a wildlife lover’s dream, both in and out of the water. Incredibly, of its 2,500 animal and plant species, two thirds are endemic, so they are only found here. In particular the iconic Baikal seal, numbering about 100,000, is an amazing animal. Firstly, it is the only freshwater seal in the world. Secondly, its nearest relatives, the Arctic ringed seal, live over 3,000km of harsh Siberian terrain away. The adults are dark in colour, while the pups have beautiful glossy white fur.
In terms of fish, the Baikal omul is the best-known endemic species. Every year in October up to three million omul gather in their breeding grounds. This is a truly spectacular sight, and one that nobody has yet caught on film.
Baikal is also great for birding. Several migratory species, including geese, use the lake’s islands as stopover points. Seeing a small rocky island covered in thousands of geese can be quite amazing.
Of course the wildlife spotting opportunities are no less exciting away from the lake. Bears, moose, lynx, sable, mink, reindeer, Siberian roe, wild boar, wolverine, wolves and pole cats can all be found. Naturally we know the best spots and times of year to find any of these species.
For even the most complex wildlife-related trips, we have the first-hand knowledge and experience to help you succeed. We can even get permission to film the omul breeding grounds, which are protected by the security services. Likewise we can also get you out to islands to study the Baikal seal breeding grounds with scientists. Please get in contact to pick our brains!