Baikal – YOU NEED KNOW
Lake Baikal is truly a spectacular place. Surrounded by mountains, forests and wilderness, it is home to many animals, and even a few people. It has been called the “Pearl of Russia”, and this is indeed a well-deserved name!
Lake Baikal is located in Russia, near the Mongolian border. It is the biggest lake in the world. It is about 640 km long, and 80 km wide. It is also the deepest lake, at 1,620 meters. Lake Baikal holds 20% of the world’s freshwater. There are more than thirty rocky islands in Lake Baikal, and the largest of these is called Olkhon Island.According
to local legend, Genghis Khan was born on Olkhon Island.
Animals can live in the entire lake because there is oxygen everywhere. Thermal springs release hot oxygenated water into the lake. The hot water rises up, and mixed with horizontal and vertical currents, causes oxygen to be distributed everywhere.
Animals that live around Lake Baikal include bears, moose, elk, deer and Siberian chipmunks.
Many fish live in Lake Baikal, as well as the Nerpa. Endemic means that the animals only occur in this area, and not anywhere else in the world. The Nerpa is special because it is the only freshwater seal in the world. The golomyanka is one of only a few viviparous fish
in the world. Viviparous means that it doesn’t lay eggs, but gives birth to live young.
Twenty-seven of the gobi species in Lake Baikal are special because they are endemic to the lake. In addition to being the largest lake, Lake Baikal is special because unlike other lakes, even the bottom layer (hypolimnion) contains life.