Chyornye Zemli Nature Reserve

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Saiga tatarica in Chyornye zemli nature reserve.jpg

The Cherny Zemli Zapovednik (Russian: заповедник "Чёрные Земли", i.e. "Black Lands") is a nature reserve in the Russian republic of Kalmykia. It was originally created in 1990 to protect the saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica). In the meantime the economy of Kalmykia collapsed and the numbers of saiga have crashed due to poaching for meat and horns (Chinese medicine) and desertification caused by overgrazing by domestic animals. The main part of the reserve is located in the Caspian Depression, northwest of the Caspian Sea. It covers 1,219 km² in two locations, with a 900 km² buffer zone. The reserve also has colonies of egrets, cormorants, and rare pelicans.

Since 1993, Cherny Zemli Nature Reserve has been designated as one of UNESCO biosphere reserves.

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Coordinates: 46°2′N 46°8′E / 46.033°N 46.133°E / 46.033; 46.133