a wildlife preserve in Astrakhan Oblast, RSFSR. The preserve was created in 1919 with the direct support of V. I. Lenin to study the nature of the Volga Delta, to protect the nesting, molting, and migration sites of waterfowl, and to protect commercial fish and their spawning grounds and wintering burrows. The preserve, which is located in the littoral of the Volga Delta, has an area of 60,000 hectares (1968). It consists of three separate sections: Damchikskii in the western part of the delta, Trekhizbinskii in the central part, and Obzhorovskii in the eastern part. There are large and small islands divided by numerous channels and covered with willow forests and thickets of reeds in the Astrakhan Preserve. In the reservoirs there is abundant growth of aquatic plants, including lotus and water chestnut. In the littoral, within the part of the delta closest to the sea, there are extensive submerged meadows of plants of the genus Vallisneria. The preserve’s flora numbers approximately 300 species.
Of the fauna, bird life is the most varied, totaling approximately 260 species. A huge number of birds concentrate in the preserve during migration, nesting, and molting. These include ducks, coots, brant, and swans. There are approximately 60 nesting species, including the mute swan, greylag goose, Dalmatian pelican, great white heron, little egret, squacco heron, common heron, and spoonbill. The most typical fish in the preserve are the carp and catfish, and there are also pike, fish of the genus Aspius, and perch, among others. The mammalian fauna of the coastal waters lacks variety. There are herds of wild boar on the splits and along the branches of the Volga, and ermines and foxes are found on the littoral spits. Studies of the natural conditions of the Volga Delta and of the ecology of land and marine animals are carried out in the Astrakhan Preserve. By 1969, the Astrakhan Preserve had published 12 volumes of Trudy.
REFERENCEZapovedniki Sovetskogo Soiuza. Edited by A. G. Bannikov. Moscow, 1969.
L. K. SHAPOSHNIKOV