Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage Site
Central Sikhote-Alin, Russian Federation
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The Sikhote-Alin (Russian: Сихотэ́-Али́нь) is a mountain range in Primorsky and Khabarovsk Krais, Russia, extending about 900 km to the northeast of the Russian Pacific seaport of Vladivostok. The highest summits are Tordoki Yani (2,077 m), Ko Mountain (2,003 m) in Khabarovsk Krai and Anik Mountain (1,933 m) in Primorsky Krai.
Sikhote-Alin comprises one of the most extraordinary temperate zones in the world. Species typical of northern taiga (such as reindeer and the Ussuri Brown Bear) coexist with tropical species, the Amur leopard, Siberian tiger, and the Asiatic Black Bear. The region holds very few wolves, due to competition with tigers. The oldest tree in the region is a millennium-old Japanese yew.
In the 1910s and 1920s, Sikhote-Alin was extensively explored by Vladimir Arsenyev (1872–1930) 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.
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 km² in area. Craters were formed by the meteors, the largest being 26 meters in diameter.
In 2001, UNESCO placed Sikhote-Alin onto the World Heritage List, citing its importance for "the survival of endangered species such as the Chinese Merganser, Blakiston's Fish Owl, and the Amur tiger". World Heritage Area has a total area of 16,319 square kilometres (4,033,000 acres), of which the terrestrial core zone of Sikhote-Alin Zapovednik comprises 3,985 square kilometres (985,000 acres). The core zone can only be explored in a company of rangers.
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