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Lake Baikal - Buryatia and Irkutsk Region, Russia


December 2013


The toolkit for school chldren "Baikal Box" was announced as the best book in the Republic of Buryatia.


Lake Bakal in the schools of Burjatia


In December 2012, the Living Lakes partner GRAN presented a collection of study material on Lake Baikal for use by school children aged ten to fourteen to broaden their knowledge and understanding of Lake Baikal, its ecological and cultural importance. The toolkit contains information, pictures, quiz questions and other interactive elements. The Baikal seal as a sympathetic mascot guides the reader through the diverse chapters. Game cards with questions on the animal and plant species and other interesting features as well as a big coloured map of Lake Baikal complement the education material.


Within the scope of a practical test, GRAN will distribute 1,000 copies among four schools, libraries and environmental organisations in Burjatia. If there is positive feedback, all school classes in Burjatia (for children aged 10 to 14) will receive a copy. It is planned to prepare an English version of the teaching material. The material was financed by UNEP and CocaCola.

 Authors of the new materials
 Teachers with the new materials
 Impressive landscape at Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is located in the south of Siberia, near the Russian- Mongolian border.

The species diversity in Lake Baikal is the highest among all the world's lakes. About 2,500 different species of animals and 1,000 plants are recorded. In the Siberian taiga, in the pinewoods and lark woods you can find bears, wolves, lynxes and elks. The Baikal Seal (Pusa sibirica) is a unique kind of seal living exclusively in fresh water. There are also other endemic species - an example is the Golomyanka, a scaleless transparent fish possessing no swim bladder.


Lake Baikal is a lake of superlatives. At more than 25 million years old it is world’s oldest lake and with its maximum depth of 1,673 metres, Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world, and the largest freshwater lake in the world by volum. The lake is fed by more than 300 rivers and streams, the largest inflows are the rivers Upper Angara, Selenga and Bargusin. Angara is the only outflow in the south of the lake. Lake Baikal has 22 larger islands. Olchon island with a surface of 730 sq. km is the largest island in Lake Baikal.


Our partner is the nature protection association "Firn" and the Baikal Information Center GRAN in Ulan-Ude. Water pollution is the most urgent problem our partners are dealing with. The wastewater from a paper plant built in Baikalsk on the south shore of the lake in the 1960s was considered the major source to pollution in the lake since March 2009. Other major contributor to pollution is untreated industrial wastewater carried to the lake.


The collapse of the Soviet Union led to economic crisis and the people living near Lake Baikal, in their struggle of life, understandingly (but unsustainably) put aside the protection of nature and environment in favour of creating jobs. Over-fishing and uncontrolled hunting (e.g. hunting of seals) threaten the unique fauna of the region as well.


Other problems, our partners are focusing on, are the dissemination of ecological information and environmental education in the Baikal region.


At the end of 2008, the “Ecological Community Council” was founded, its primary option is the cooperation between the Office of Public Prosecutor and the NGOs in the sector of environmental protection. With the corporate implementation of federal and regional programmes, encroachments and ecological felonies should be prevented and therefore the conservation of the unique nature in the Baikal region should be ensured. FIRN is a member of the Ecological Community Council.

 Shoreline of Lake Baikal
 Silhouette of Lake Baikal
 Baikal Seal

Together with both partner organisations, GNF is and was implementing the following projects: 


Further information about each project you find under the separate project webpage.

 Barguzin River

Ecotourism association (BETA) formed in Buryatia by GRAN

In Buryata, the number of private initiatives aiming at promoting nature and ecotourism increases steadily. To pool and bring forward their activities, GRAN has formed the ecotourism association BETA in autumn 2010. To date, private initiatives do not benefit from state funding for the creation and marketing of eco-tourism activities.

In October 2010, GRAN presented the eco-tourism project in the Oka region to the parliament of Buryatia, and it was received with great interest.

The successful development of ecotourism can provide an important alternative to the planned intensive tourism activities at Lake Baikal and in the catchment area. Ecotourism is an alternative source of income for the local inhabitants demonstrating the economic value of nature and culture.


In December 2010, Baikal Information Centre GRAN won a republican contest "350 good deeds", timed to celebration of 350th Anniversary of voluntary entry of Buryatia into the Russian Federation.

The project entitled "Baikal craftspeople" is aimed at:

  • development of souvenir production made of natural raw materials (felt cloth, etc);
  • development and promotion of folk decorative and applied arts, traditional in the Republic of Buryatia;
  • support of local (rural) souvenir makers.

Within the frames of the project a series of practical souvenirs made of natural raw materials, like felt cloth (purses, сovers for mobile phones and cameras, felt slippers, brooches, beads, etc.) will be produced.

Souvenirs photos and craftspeople's contact information will be published on the website of Baikal Information Centre "GRAN" (http://gran.baikal.net, www.baikalgran.ru). The project partner of GRAN is the Korsakovo school.


More information about Lake Baikal


Detailed Data


Partner Organisations


Club "Firn" (NGO)

Contact person: Zhargalma Tsybikova

Ul.Babushkina 13

670031 Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, Russia

Phone: + 7  - 30 12 - 55 50 88

Fax: + 7  - 30 12 - 55 50 88

E-mail: office@firnclub.ru

Website: www.firnclub.ru

 Logo FIRN

Baikal Information Center GRAN

Contact person: Ms. Elena Perelygina - Manager

9 Borsoev St., office 1.

Ulan-Ude 670000

Republic of Buryatia, Russia

Phone / Fax: +7 - 30 12 - 21 70 73

E-mail: gran.baikal@mail.ru

Website: www.baikalgran.ru

 Logo GRAN
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