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Reserve "Shulgan-Tash"

The reserve is located in country between the most picturesque rivers of Bashkiriya  - Belaya (White) and Yuryuzan. In the Bashkir national epic literature these rivers are quite often referred to as the most beautiful, both generous noble assistants and wet-nurses of the Bashkir people. The reserve Shulgan-Tash is situated in a territory, which is rich with different species of flora, fauna and natural sights. The general area of the reserve is 22,531 hectares zoned broad leaved and forest-steppe.

The reserve is located in the western foothills of the southern Urals. The relief was formed by a chaotic interlacing of low (100-300 m) ranges which have been dismembered by numerous streams and small rivers. From the south and northwest canyon-shaped valleys of the rivers Belaya and Nugush with depths of 100-150 m limit the territory. The height of the territory ranges from 240 to 700 metres with the largest area being from 400 to 600 metres.

In the reserve is the unique world famous Capova cave. Being a complex natural monument the cave is of great interest because of its structure: multiple grottos and halls connected by passages of various levels. Total length of all the cave passages is more than 2.7 km and the total volume of the cavities - about 86000 cubic metres. The cave walls are rich in calcite sinters of all shapes and sizes. The cave has three levels. Inside the cave the river Underground Shulgan flows forming a Blue Lake at its entrance. In the cave scientists found rock paintings made by primitive men in the Paleolithic Epoch.

Climate of the reserve is continental, with sharp transitions from hot to a cold, with late spring and early autumn night frosts. The monthly average temperature of January is -16 OC, June and July +16 OC.  Winter is usually snowy and changes of the weather are sharp but with only very mild winds.

Flora: Number of species of the plants is 880. The territory of reserve is classified forest and steppe nature zones, and also the European and Siberian bio-geographical areas with forest occupying the majority of the territory. Broad-leaved old-age forests with sections of glades with high grass and meadow steppes also prevail. Birch and white birch, black poplar, oak, maple, pine, Siberian spruce, gray alder, aspen are distributed throughout the reserve.

Fauna: Number of species of fish: 27; Number of species of reptiles: 6; Number of nesting species of birds: 196; Number of species of mammals: 54. The fauna of the reserve is characteristic for the deciduous and mixed forests of the southern Urals. Forest marten, brown bears, wolves, lambs and roe are common. The famous Bashkir wild bee is protected.

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