Yelnya wildlife reserve


The national wildlife/landscape reserve Yelnya is the largest and one of the most outstanding conservation sites. It is home to one of the largest lake and wetland areas in Belarus and in Europe. There are around 100 lakes, of which Lakes Yelna and Chornaye are some of the largest. The other lakes are also remarkable for their size and beauty

As a wetland area, Yelnya is a natural chronicle of sorts. In fact, it is one of the oldest natural sites in Belarus -its origin goes back to the ice age. Human activity has had very minor impact on its development, which has made possible the survival of many unique plant and animal species.
As a wildlife reserve of national significance, Yelnya is an important element in the national network of conservation areas. It was established in 1968 to conserve one of Europe's largest high bogs and its biodiversity. Recently, the site's significance to nature conservation received international recognition. Yelnya  became a Ramsar site and an important bird area in 2002, and an internationally significant plant diversity site in 2005. Yelnya is designated as a national core site within the network of conservation areas system designed by the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Most of Yelnya's territory (75.2%) is designated a protected wetland habitat of European significance pursuant to the EU Habitat Directive (92/43/EEC). This serves as clear evidence of the wildlife reserve’s role in protecting Europe's biodiversity.

The establishment of the wildlife reserve put an end to irrigation activities in the area, thus helping conserve the wetland habitats in their natural state.

The Yelnya reserve is located between 55028΄–55038΄N
and 27041΄–27057΄E. Maximum length is 20.5 km from North to South and 16.6 km from West to East. Total land area is 25301 Ha (253.01 км2). The site lies in the territory of Miyory and Sharkauschyna Districts (Vitsebsk Voblast).
State Nature Conservation Institution "Yelnya"
211930,  Vitsebsk Voblast,   Miyory, ul  Kirova, 4 «А»
Tel./fax  (02152) 4-12-37                            

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