Primorye in the Russian Far East

The Russian Far East is the vast area of land boardering the Pacific. The southeast of this region is known as Primorye. It is closed in by the Ussuri river in the west, forming the border with China, and the Sea of Japan in the east. Ussuriland has the same latitude as France and Italy. It is a special part of Russia, very different from the more northern taiga in Siberia. During the summer humid monsoon winds from sea are predominant and tempartures rise to 40 degrees celsius. In the fall the wind changes and brings in cold air from Siberia. Tempartures drop as low as minus 40 degrees celsius in winter, cold enough that trucks use the frozen bay of Vladivostok for transportation. These extreme weather conditions combined with the varied geography of broad river valleys and mountains resulted in the very rich flora and fauna of Primorye. Here species from the jungles in Asia meet with species from the taiga. Only here tigers feed on wild boar and moose. Tiger, leopard, wolf, lynx, wild dog and Asian black bear all live together. In the mixed forests you recognize the tree species from the temperate zones like maple, willow, oak and pine close to large trees that sometimes look tropical.


In summer the forest is like a jungle with dense undergrowth, where you can find the rare ginseng plant. In winter it is reminiscent of the forests of Europe and North America. Usually snow covers the ground. Deer have difficulty surviving because food is scarce and their hoofs sink deep into the snow. Tiger and leopard with their thick winter coats are well adapted to the cold. But it is a dangerous time for them as well because only now poachers are able to track them down.