Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on the establishment of Nature Reserve "Shaitan-Tau" in Orenburg oblast. It was created to preserve the utmost south-east of European wood-grown steppe in Kuvandyk district. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia is to prepare a document on assignment of the status of protected area to the land and submit it to the government until January 1, 2016.
The idea of creation a reserve in this part of the Southern Urals emerged in postwar years in Bashkiria. An option to create a branch of the state reserve "Bashkir" in the vicinity of the Dzyautyube ridge (which has a second name - Shaitan Tau) was under discussion. Unfortunately, the plan to create the reserve in Bashkiria failed.
In 1980, at the initiative of Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chairman of the Standing Environmental Committee - Alexander Chibilyov, the Orenburg regional branch of the Society started working on substantiation of the reserve "Shaitan-Tau" creation. Institute of Steppe Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, under the direction of Chibilёv developed the materials on comprehensive landscape-ecological substantiation of the reserve creation. The materials were under public discussion and received a positive conclusion of the state ecological expertise at the federal level.
The area of the new reserve will cover 6726 hectares. The landscape of the Reserve is a combination of unique natural landmarks of low mountains, plateaus and mountain valleys and oak forests, shrubs and herb-grass steppes. This is the areal of typical steppe animals (marmots, large jerboas, large ground squirrels, little bustards) and forest species (brown bears, common squirrels, flying squirrels, lynx, grouses). And trouts and European graylings are found in mountain streams. There are many rare endemic and relict species.
"Shaitan-Tau" - this is the fifth reserve in Orenburg oblast. In addition, in 2007 National Park "Buzuluksky Bor" was created in the region and the sixth reserve area of 16 000 hectares - "The Ural steppe" is under negotiation.
Photos were provided by the Orenburg regional branch of the Russian Geographical Society