Lake Baikal is situated in southern Siberia, Russia, and it is known as the oldest and deepest lake in the world. It has an estimated age of around 25 million years and a maximum depth of 1,642 meters. It also holds the title of the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume, containing around 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater.
The lake is home to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, with more than 1,700 species of plants and animals identified. Two-thirds of these species are unique to the lake and can be found nowhere else in the world. Lake Baikal is home to several endangered species, including the Baikal seal, the world’s only freshwater seal, and the omul fish, which is an important food source for the local population.
In 1996, Lake Baikal was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its exceptional value and importance for conservation. The lake is not only a significant natural wonder but also plays a vital role in regulating the regional climate, contributing to the development of local economies, and supporting the indigenous communities that call the area home.