Lake Baikal, formed 25 million years
ago, provides a haven for 1,200 animal species, 600 types of plants, and the
world's only freshwater seals.
Of these plants and
animals, 75 percent are found only in the Lake Baikal region, making its
Some of Baikal's fish can survive more than one mile beneath
the surface, despite the incredible water pressure at that
They are so well-adapted to these pressures that they will
literally explode if brought to the surface, where the pressure is
Out of all the animals living in the Lake Baikal, the most
interesting are the fresh water seals.
Scientists still have not determined how the seals got to Lake Baikal, although it is supposed
that they travelled here in prehistoric times from the Arctic through a river.
The nerpas – how they are often called – differ in many aspects from the Arctic seals as they
have adapted to the Baikal climate. For example they have more blood, which makes it possible to them to swim
for more than 70 minutes. They can also travel at great depths, sometimes reaching depths of 300 meters under
One of the most bizarre fish that lives in Lake Baikal is the golomyanka (oil-fish). The golomyanka has no scale
and a translucent body. It can swim at depths of more than 1000 metres.
The omul is the most popular fish in Lake Baikal and you will find it in most tourist towns as
it is the main food supply of the locals.