Nenets Autonomous Okrug

The Pristine Beauty of the Far North

Take a trip to the first and only nature reserve of the Nenets Autonomous Area

17.04.2022 // The Nenets State Nature Reserve is located in the Barents Sea on the Russky Zavorot Peninsula. Its territory, with its pristine unique nature, is home to many red-listed species of plants and animals. In summer tourists come here for amateur birdwatching and environmental tours, and in winter the reserve attracts thrill-seekers who are not afraid of the cold.

The Russky Zavorot Peninsula in the Barents Sea is a truly unique place. This is the only place in Europe with untouched subarctic and arctic tundra plains. There is not a single large industrial facility nearby, so the peninsula remains a model of pristine beauty of the Far North. The red-listed plants and animals on the Russkiy Zavot Peninsula are not endangered because people do not disturb them or change their habitat.

The peninsula is home to polar bears, walruses, beluga whales and bowhead whales, with occasional sightings of narwhals, high-billed bottlenose whales and northern fin whales.

A Perfect Place for Birdwatching

Winter on the Russky Zavorot Peninsula lasts very long. Here, the land is covered by snow for 231 days a year. But as soon as the numerous lakes, rivers and swamps are freed from their ice captivity, thousands of birds arrive on the peninsula. In 1997, the Nenets State Nature Reserve was established here to keep Russky Zavorot a piece of the pristine Arctic. However, this does not mean that the peninsula is now inaccessible to birdwatching enthusiasts. On the contrary, the reserve employees will show amateur ornithologists the best spots for observing rare birds and tell them about their habits and preferences. The White-billed Diver, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Red-breasted Goose and Tundra Swan can be seen here at arm's length, not from the pages of the Red Book. 

Protected Area

The Nenets Nature Reserve is the first and so far the only nature reserve in the Nenets Autonomous Area. Not only the Russky Zavorot peninsula, but also the Zakharinsky coast of the Pechora Bay, the lower reaches of the Pechora Delta and part of the Eastern Neruta River Delta, the Guliaevskiye Koshki, Matveev, Golets, Dolgiy, Bolshoy and Maly Zelentsy islands are classified as protected areas. The water area near these islands is also protected. The Eastern Atlantic migration route of birds, which nest in the tundra and winter in Europe and Africa, passes through these protected lands. That is why there is a great diversity of birds here - 125 species. 15 of them are included in the Red Book of Russia and the Nenets Autonomous Area.

The protected area is home not only to natural wonders, but also to many historical and cultural monuments of the Nenets, the indigenous peoples of the Malozemelskaya tundra. For example, on Dolgy Island you can visit the ancient sanctuaries and see the idols to which the indigenous inhabitants of these lands brought sacrificial animals. Polar bear skulls and reindeer antlers have survived to this day. The Pomors have also left their mark on the protected area. The island is home to Pomor settlements that are several centuries old.

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