Nerpinary in Listvyanka
Baikal seal is a symbol of Baikal, one of the most beautiful of its inhabitants. Nerpa is the only seal in the world living in fresh water. It is wide-spread around Baikal, especially in northern and the middle parts. So far, there is no single point of view among academics, in what way the animal got into the lake. Most researchers are of the same opinion as Chersky who supposes that the seal is penetrated into Baikal from the Arctic Ocean through the system of rivers the Yenisei – the Angara in the glacial epoch simultaneously with the Baikal omul. According to experts, there are about 80-100 thousand heads of Nerpa in the lake. Nerpa feeds with non-target fish – Baikal oilfish, goby: it can eat about one ton of fish a year. In search of food seals dive to 200 m depth and remain under water for 20-25 minutes. The maximum swimming speed is 20-25 km / h. Seal pups are born on ice in a snow den. Most of the seals are born in mid-March. Pups have white fur, which allows them in the first weeks of life remain almost unnoticed in the snow. Adult males reach 130-150 kg and their length is up to 1.8 m, females are smaller. Seals can live to the age of 55-56 years.
Seal is difficult to see in their natural habitat because of its secrecy and fearfulness. You can see the first in the world show of trained Nerpa and its behavior in Nerpinary, which was opened at Listvyanka in June 2009. They can sing, dance, play with the ball, and even to count.
The idea to do training and education of these animals came to the candidate of biological sciences, EA Baranov, at a time when he was an employee of Limnological Institute:
"People do training of dolphins and ocean seals for a long time. But with the Baikal seals we never do anything like this. I've always wanted people to notice a seal not only because of expensive pelt, but also as a highly intelligent creature.
In their natural habitat in Baikal seals have no enemies. Nerpa is a master there, like a bear in the woods. But on the surface it can always meet a man with a gun. That’s why seals are afraid of people to death. When a man stands on the ice around its hole, it would not look out onto the surface, although it promises to her death from lack of air, if there is no other hole somewhere in the neighborhood. Our colleagues from the University of California consider Nerpa to be the most timid seals in the world. Natural caution of seals was the main obstacle for us, as we tried to make friends.
Then we can already engage in learning. They turned out to be well aware of people and happy to make for them all that their abilities will let them. And they have tremendous abilities. The main thing is to explain the seal, what you want to achieve of it.
Seals do not know what fatigue is: sleeping only three or four hours a day in the evening they frolic, as if the day has just begun. They seem to be even a little upset when the performance ends.
Nerpinary Show of charming pets is important, but not the most important part of our work. Adoring smiles and happy children's laughter of our guests is the best way to their hearts. After the performance we tell them many interesting things about the largest freshwater lake in the world and the work of our scientists-limnologists. And people suddenly begin to ask questions that never would come to their mind; they should not have a closer look at dark-eyed pinnipeds aboriginals of Baikal ".
We invite you to visit the only show in the world of trained Baikal seals! We hope that the visit of Nerpinary will give you unforgettable impressions!
Listvyanka settlement, Gorky street, 101 “A” (between hotel “Priboi” (“Swash”) and the ground of souvenirs)
Tuesday-Friday: from 11:00 to 17:00. During school vacations and holidays you should specify the schedule.
Saturday-Sunday: from 11:00 to 18:00. During school vacations and holidays you should specify the schedule.
Performance (duration – 30 minutes): 11:00, 12:30, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, and 17:00. Additional performance on Saturdays and Sundays is at 18:00.