Udege Legend National Park

6.01.2013

Amur Tigers in Udege Legend National Park

Phoenix. A view from a hill

© Phoenix
A view from a hill

The Udege Legend National Park offers unique excursions into remote Amur tiger habitat in Russia. This tour goes completely off the beaten-track – only a handful of westerners have visited the park! The Park was established in 2007 for the protection of Amur tigers and other wildlife in remote wilderness in the Russian Far East. It was named after the indigenous Udege tribe. The Udege lived in this region when Russian settlers arrived in Primorye in Russia in the 19th century. Today only a few hundred Udege remain and among them are a few Udege families that live in a village at the entrance of the park.

Phoenix.Amur tiger

© Phoenix
Amur tiger

The Park is covered with beautiful old-growth mixed forests. Common tree species include Korean pine, oak and maple leaf. You can have a look at a relict stands of ancient Jew trees that grow in the national park. A few impressive trees are around 2000 years old!

The Park has a small but healthy tiger population (probably around 8 tigers live in the park or visit it regularly) and both brown bears and Himalayan black bears are not uncommon. The tiger’s main prey species are red deer, wild boar and roe deer. Other animal species that occur in the park are Amur cats, raccoon dogs, otters, foxes, musk deer, badgers and the mysterious, endangered fish owl (probably the largest owl in the world). The rivers in the park provide excellent fishing opportunities. You can make trips with the wardens in fast boats on the spectacular rivers that flow through the park (April-October). In August and September bears descent from the hills to eat berries that grow near the rivers and you will almost certainly spot one or more bears during the boat trips.

Phoenix. A visit to Russian old believers

© Phoenix
A visit to Russian old believers

A unique opportunity can be offered for those who are deeply concerned about wildlife conservation. You are welcome to join anti-poaching patrols by the park wardens in 4-wheel drive vehicles and on foot (or on skis in winter) through the park’s forested hills and valleys.

You can visit a village where so-called Russian “old-believers” have settled. These Russians were persecuted for several centuries when they left the Russian Orthodox Church after disputes about number of religious dogmas. In the 1930s a group of 200 old believers fled from nearby villages to Manchuria in China to escape from Stalin’s purges in the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, they were subsequently forced to leave China in the 1950s after this country had become communist as well. They finally settled in Uruguay in South America. After a diaspora of more than 75 years, the old believers are now returning to Russia. They selected an abandoned village near the border of the park as their future home. A small group of around 20 people is making preparations and it is expected that more old believers will return to their homeland soon. The men wear long beards and both women and men are dressed in traditional Russian costumes. They speak old-fashioned Russian and use words that modern Russians only know from books.

Phoenix. A good catch of fish

© Phoenix
A good catch of fish

The rivers in the park provide excellent fishing opportunities. Local fish species include Lenok, Arctic grayling, taimen, Amur pike and Crucian carp.

You can make an excursion to an eco-centre that was set-up in a school in the nearby district centre. Here you can meet with enthusiastic teachers who provide eco-education lessons in the centre and organize an annual Tiger Day Festival in September. The best season to visit the Udege Legend National Park is August-October. A cost of a three-day tour varies from $4,500 to $7,000 per person. Your tour itinerary will be designed according to your personal wishes. Various excursions into the park and surrounding areas can be organized depending on your preferences and also on the season.

tree Uriver
chipmunk bridge
catch reddeer

You may be interested in our other eco-tours in Primorye:

Kedrovaya Pad Biosphere Nature Reserve

Far East Marine Biosphere Reserve

Khankaisky Biosphere Nature Reserve

Lazovsky Nature Reserve

Zov Tigra National Park

Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Nature Reserve

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