About animals

Elk Island ”: there are miracles, there moose roam


A sculptural image of an elk’s head was found in a settlement of the Stone Age finale, on the so-called “ritual site”, a special place near the underground burial ground, where, probably, memorial events were held to honor the deceased relatives.
Functional purpose of the exhibit: ritual object, male rod.
A unique item, the only one in the group of horn rods with the head of an elk, which apparently had a separately attached handle.

The head of an elk is shown very realistic and vibrant. By carving, grinding and polishing, parts of the head are transferred, eyes are shown with round holes. A deep oval recess has been carved from below to connect the sculpture with the hilt. The subject belongs to the group of so-called elk-headed wands, known both in material embodiment and in cave paintings, on the expanses of the forest zone of Eurasia from Norway to Lake Baikal. Wands in their silhouette resembled axes a bit and belonged to adult men - experienced hunters, heads of families, and probably depicted a male moose dropping its horns in winter.

Moscow taiga

Elk biostation. Photo: elkisland.ru

Hundreds of years ago, Russian tsars hunted in these places, and since then the borders of Elk Island have not changed much. Nowadays, up to 5 million people visit the national park every year, but such a massive influx of vacationing citizens does not bother the wild spotted deer and wild boars, foxes and hares, beavers and muskrats living here, as well as the Red Book white-tailed eagle and gray-headed woodpecker, marten and ermine, amphibians, snakes and, of course, moose. According to experts, in total about 280 species of animals live on the territory of the specially protected facility of federal significance and more than 700 species of plants grow, including centuries-old oaks and 250-year-old ship pines in the park's Alekseevsky grove.

How to get into the moose kingdom

Elk biostation. Photo: elkisland.ru

Elk Biostation - a “branded” object Elk Island. Here, the symbols of the capital's national park live in semi-free mode, that is, they walk on their own in large aviaries and wait for someone to give them another peeled carrot. You can feed by hand (and even touch) the largest ungulates of the Moscow Region and learn a lot of interesting things about their life, every day: one and a half hour excursions begin at 11:00 and 13:00. A children's ticket on weekdays costs 400 rubles, on weekends - 450 rubles, for adults entrance is 100 rubles more expensive. In addition, in the ecology center at Losiny biostation, you can take a two-hour tour of the reserved places ─ Yauzsky swamps for 800 rubles.

Ecological trail "Preserved Forest". Photo: elkisland.ru

But still, the most valuable thing is to know how not to get lost in the search for a moose kingdom. Detailed instructions are posted on the official website of the national park, but we will confine ourselves to indicating the address: Moscow Region, Kropotkinskiy passage and coordinates for the navigator ─ 55.879232, 37.784380. The cost of parking a personal car is 250 rubles for the entire stay in the national park.

Here "Russian life", here it smells like dough

In the forest thickets closest to the Yaroslavl region, not far from Prokhodchikov Street, there is the Russian Life eco-center. The doors of a hundred-year-old village house are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and in addition to studying peasant and suburban life and utensils, you can wander along the ethno-village and see which half-dug-outs in the X century in the valley of the Moscow River were Vyatichi-Muscovites. Having passed the excursion trail, you will learn a lot about the ancient Slavic gods and unknown details of the biography of the mermaid that Pushkin has. " sitting on the branches. ".

Photo: shutterstock

You can walk along the ecological path “Such a familiar forest” in an hour or two, after seeing rare plants and one and a half-century trees of “Pine Grivka,” or make ginger cookies with your own hands and bake it in a real Russian oven, or together with a child make a cute little thing out of salt dough for the interior. The cost of excursions and master classes is from 70 to 1300 rubles. Still in the “Russian way of life” there are specially equipped places for picnics and traditionally take place ecological and ethnographic holidays - “Wide Shrovetide”, “Ivan Kupala”, “Holiday of the Three Savior”. This means that in the winter you will be fed pancakes and given herbal tea, and in the summer you will be treated with kvass and apples. Well, every autumn there are waiting for guests and participants of the festival song "Sing about a moose!". The main condition of the competition is the syllable “moose” in the text. The hit of the last season - “Oh, it’s not evening, then not evening, I’ve recovered a little - oh, I dreamed about it in a dream”. Winners are awarded in the nominations: “Cheesy Elk” - for optimism and resourcefulness, “Literary Elk” - for the best poetic performance, the best performer of the lyric song receives the title “Romantic Moose”, and the audience’s prize is awarded to “The Most Charming Elk”.

To children about animals

Elk biostation. Photo: elkisland.ru

In the ecological and educational center "Red Pine" (Yaroslavl sh., 12th line of Red Pine, d. 28) children will not be bored. Firstly, at the very gates of the ecocenter, they will be greeted by the Kholmogorsk geese and the decorative rooster Petya with the Ryaba chicken, which lead visitors to the "Wildlife Corner". There live animals that are not found in Elk Island: rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and spur frogs, as well as funny parrots - pink-cheeked lovebirds Chik and Chikka, Amadina Rick and Rikka and the green-winged macaw Aragorn. Here you can visit the Forest Lost Bureau and an exposition dedicated to pine and forest life, as well as see a collection of all kinds of figures and images of an elk and find out many interesting facts about Elk Island. For children, master classes “Decoupage” and “Losyash”, excursions and game programs (“New Year”, “Shrovetide”, “In Search of Treasure”) are held. The cost varies from 50 to 1300 rubles.

Photo: shutterstock

Ecological holidays have also become traditional in Red Pine, for example, “Feed the birds in winter,” when preschool children and primary school students learn which birds live in the national park and how to properly feed the birds. On the territory of the ecocenter, picnic areas are equipped, and in the summer here (read - in nature) you can have a great children's birthday with games, the participation of cartoon heroes and an entertaining quest.

Visiting a badger

A model of a badger hole in the Arboretum. Photo: elkisland.ru

If you go along the Moscow Ring Road towards Moscow and turn at the fork in the Shchelkovsky and Balashikhinsky highways, then, after driving 5 kilometers, you can get into the Arboretum of Losiny Island. The flora of different regions of Russia was recreated on its territory and plants of the Far East, Siberia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus are represented. A sculpture of an elk was installed in the Dendropark and an imitation of a beaver settlement was built. One of the main “tricks” of the Arboretum is an enlarged model of a badger hole, which you can go into and make an unforgettable selfie.

All kinds of master classes are held here, and among the excursions, the Alekseevskaya Grove ecological trail, which was laid at the end of the 17th century and was part of the landscape-architectural ensemble, along with the traveling palace of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich Romanov and a system of decorative ponds, one of which preserved. Also in the Alekseevskaya grove are 150-year-old lindens and barrow groups of pre-Mongol time. By the way, in the most picturesque area of ​​Alekseevsky Forest Park ─ near Bulganinsky Pond ─ a picnic relaxation area with barbecue facilities and wooden benches was opened.

Eco-camp in the ecocenter

Photo: elkisland.ru

Residents of the Golyanovo district are closest to get to the Losramino island environmental center "Abramtsevo", which is located in a wooden building of a forest cordon of the late XIX century. There are special places for a picnic, for children they conduct quests and master classes, and on the route of the forest excursion you can meet a real wild moose.

Residents of the Vostochny district are a stone's throw from the Tsarskaya Okhota eco-center located in the building of the former government suburban cottage. The exposition of the museum exhibition tells about the ceremonial royal trips to falconry, dog and brutal hunting, about ancient weapons and cartography. Well, without master classes from the Tsarist Hunt, the guys, of course, will not be released either.

Children's master class. Photo: Moscow Seasons press service

Probably only the most courageous visitors to Elk Island get deep into the national park - in the peat enterprise ecocenter. The routes offered here cover the most picturesque places ─ this is a huge “witch’s broom” on a pine tree, and beautiful landscapes of protected Upper Yauz swamps, and beaver settlements in the valley of the Nekhlyudov stream ... In summer, it’s especially fun in the forest: an ecological school works at the center, and during During the holidays, children live in an ecocenter building, go on excursions and learn a lot from the world of wildlife. For example, the fact that an adult male beaver weighs like an 8-year-old child, and matriarchy reigns in a beaver family.

Ecological center "Tea drinking in Mytishchi". Photo: shutterstock

So it’s not long to get to the Moscow Region ─ to get to the Tea Party in Mytishchi. An environmental center with such a soulful name is located in Losiny Ostrov on the Water Alley in Building No. 1. Here they will tell you about the history of the construction of the first Moscow water supply system during the reign of Catherine the Great, show a collection of samovars and tea utensils from the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, and offer you to evaluate all the charms of the merchant life of that time. The guides will show a lot of waterfowl and near-water birds in the surrounding marshes - this program is designed for hardy tourists who have to walk 10 km along forest paths in 6 hours (it is recommended to take a thermos and snack to stop in the middle of the way). Game programs, eco-quests and workshops on making roe, birch bark miniatures and felting from wool are also on the fun list of ke.

Sports in the wilderness

In winter, Losiny Ostrov National Park is the best place in Moscow for skiing, and in summer ─ for cycling. Fortunately, there are several rental centers nearby, and besides dirt paths there are a lot of asphalt roads. In Golyanovo ─ this is VeloLosinka (Kurgan Str., 3). Renting a set of cross-country skis, poles and boots here costs 200 rubles per hour, 600 rubles per day, 700 rubles per day. Bicycle for 3 hours - from 150 to 850 rubles, depending on the model. The rental point Vilav (Otkrytoe sh., D. 27, building 9) offers bicycles for free for children up to 7 years old, and for adults for 500 rubles on a weekday and for 700 on a weekend. Cross-country skiing is also given out to preschoolers free of charge, and to their parents - for 500 rubles on a weekday and for 900 rubles on a weekend. The cost of bike rental "Elk Island" (2 Roterta St.): 200 rubles ─ per hour, 500 rubles ─ 3 hours, 1500 rubles ─ per day.

On Elk Island - on horseback!

Photo: shutterstock

And how do you like this idea: to saddle a hot stallion or a phlegmatic mare and go on horseback riding in the “Moscow taiga”? Horse routes pass through the territory of three local forest parks ─ Losinoostrovsky, Yauzsky and Mytishchi. Such a service in the Losiny Ostrov National Park is offered at once by several horse yards. For example, the equestrian club “Tandem”, which is located on the border of the green “sea” - in the village of Abramtsevo (Khomutovo quarter, 34A). This is across the MKAD from the Golyanovo district and on the other side of the Shchelkovo highway from the Vostochny district. An hour and a half in the forests and fields of an experienced rider will cost 3200 rubles, and 45 minutes of horseback riding will cost 1600 rubles. First time in the saddle? Not scary! For 2000 rubles, you will be instructed in horse management, make a 15-minute trial ride on the parade ground - and now you are ready for a 45-minute horse ride among centuries-old pine trees. In Metrogorodok, experienced riders can rent live savvy equipment at the Lesnoye Horse Farm (Losinoostrovskaya St., house 50). For 1000 rubles per hour you will be accompanied by a savvy instructor who will conduct a cavalcade of tourists along one of the picturesque forest routes of the national park.

Photo: shutterstock

In the depths of the “Elk Island”, on the outside of the 97th kilometer of the Moscow Ring Road, in the dense thicket KSK “Nightingale Grove” is located. A one and a half hour horse ride with reins in one hand and a camera in the other will cost 1,700 rubles. If you "sit down" on this business, useful for health and the psyche, then you will start jumping for your pleasure once a week: the cost of a subscription is 5500 rubles. And in this club you can watch a musical-costume performance of the equestrian theater group, and in the guest room you can relax, warm up and drink tea with sandwiches and even organize a gala dinner.

If you go "for a long, long time along the path", then you can leave your car in the parking lot of the Lenta hypermarket (54 Yaroslavsky Sh.) And come to the Losinka horse yard (Losinoostrovskaya St., 41). Walking along the clearing, inhaling clean air with full chest ─ only about 15 minutes (maximum 30). Of course, you can drive by car, but for this you should ask in advance that the horse yard issue a pass. For one car - 250 rubles, otherwise you risk being fined, as entry into the territory of the national park is prohibited.

In Losinka, a group (from 2 people) hour walk with an instructor costs 1300 rubles, individual (only on weekdays) - 1800 rubles. For beginner riders and groups with children, walks are offered. If you are confidently sitting in the saddle, then the shift leaves at a trot or with a trot and gallop. In the meantime, adults prancing on horseback, ponies await the smallest guests. In the Bogorodskoye district, horse riding in the bosom of nature can be enjoyed in the equestrian club "Orion" (ul. Losinoostrovskaya, vl. 14).

Horse rides along the forest paths and clearings of Elk Island are also organized by the Yauza Horse Yard, located near the State Pond. Collective promenade - up to 10 riders, the duration of the trip is 45-50 minutes. The exact address of the horse yard: st. Bogatyrsky Most, d.17. The Yauza Ecocenter is also located here: in the estate hall, which seats up to 60 people, they hold musical and literary evenings, exhibitions, children's parties and master classes.

Come to us in the “Bear Corner”

Photo: shutterstock

Near the Yauza estate you can find ... no, not an elk, not a wild boar and not a deer, but a unique Tien Shan bear. This species of clubfoot is listed in the Red Book, and in nature they rarely grow above one and a half meters. However, the brown bear, who lives on the Bear Corner Losinoostrovsky Biostation, is twice as large as its wild relatives: it is 3 meters tall and weighs 850 kg! His name is Baby, and in the past he is a famous circus performer (stage name is Dobrynya). And also an actor with a rich filmography. He played the main bearish roles in the films “The Heart of the Bear”, “The Bird Market”, “Mashenka and the Beasts”, “Jumble” ... The fate of the Kid is worthy of adaptation: after retirement, they wanted to give the bear to work, but his trainer, deserved Valentina Ivanovna Panteleenko, circus artist of the RSFSR, could not give her beloved pet to be torn to sharks by show business and took it to herself. 7 years ago, a retired bear broke paralysis - she didn’t leave him here, she went out ...

To maintain and feed the huge Baby is not an easy task. Fortunately, the state allocated premises in the technical yard of Elk Island, and the Bear Corner biostation appeared in the National Park. According to the old acting habit, the Kid still pleases guests with circus tricks and funny antics. Bear loves drying and corn sticks and his mother - Valentina Ivanovna.

Live Journal of the Moscow Region

Snow no longer creaks, it has become loose, heavy. Legs fail, you just have to step back from the curb, wanting to take a closer look at the tracks of the traces of the Far Eastern deer.

There are about 300 such fiery white-spotted beauties here. The only chance to see them is in the winter, at this time of year they herds come to the feed base, where hay, vegetables and bread are prepared. And then in the Moscow region, in Mytishchi. At other times of the year, deer hide in the forest more often and are rarely seen by people.

Even in the forest you can meet the muskrat, American mink, hedgehog and even goshawk. But this is if you are very lucky and know where to look. The main inhabitants of the Elk Island National Reserve are just those in whose honor this place was named. Moose.

This place is a serious one, engaged not only in excursion activities, but also in the rehabilitation and restoration of the animal population. Our hero and guide today is Ivan Yutkin, the head of the biostation, who, according to his colleagues, knows perfectly the “moose tongue”. But when I seriously ask this question - just laughs. And who said that in order to understand another person, even if not a beast, but a person, one must know the language? It is enough to understand and feel.

Ivan has been working as a huntsman at the station for seven years, and began working as a tour guide in the department of environmental education.

- How many did not communicate with colleagues in the field of nature conservation and biological diversity - I was always convinced that huntsmen are fans of their craft, - Ivan shrugs. - I love nature and animals. This is probably hereditary - my father also worked as a huntsman. And he, too, had a love job.

In addition, everyone now works in offices, occasionally getting out even to the park next door. And Ivan actually has work in nature - where is the real air and real life.


Now on the biostation of the Elk Island park there are two moose - Boniface and Dina.

- Bonya came from the Yaroslavl region, Dina - from the Narofominsky district of the Moscow Region. Both were found by people. Picked up in the forest still very small.

Almost all animals that fall on the biostation are “poaching”. The mother was killed, the calf was left alone and could die in nature. Now Boniface looks eye to eye, begging for another piece of carrot.

In early May, in the Yaroslavl region, on the road along the forest zone, a very small calf was found. Weakened, defenseless, he barely moved his hooves, and it is not known whether he alone survived in the forest if the locals had not found him. Kind people sheltered at home, began to feed the beast and gave him the nickname Bonya. But remembering that when he grows up and becomes a large animal, it will be extremely difficult to keep him as a pet, they turned to the biose station of the Losiny Ostrov National Reserve with a request to receive the animal and provide him with qualified care.

Now, from an awkward, confused calf in his own legs, he turned into a charming, young male, devotedly looking with brown eyes and asking:

- Is the carrot really over? Well, shame on you.

Dina - a year older than Boniface. It was officially released last summer. Employees of all graduates track on GPS beacons. But Dina, circling a little around the biostation, came back. Home.


Over the years, Ivan has well studied the habits of moose, their character and habits.

- Moose are smart animals. They remember their names and always respond when they are called. Have you noticed? They are calm because they are still young, ”he explains. - Grow up - they will run wild, show character. They will start to shun people, it will be impossible to approach. However, those who worked with them in childhood will always be remembered and, on occasion, will be allowed to come to themselves.

I notice an interesting detail: the biostation has its own alumni board. Come closer. Graduates of the biostation. Photos of moose immediately before release into nature, nickname (although it is more correct to say - name), date of birth.

The baby was born in 2000, and although she has been dead for several years, she is a local legend at the biostation.

- Every year she returned in December to the territory - to winter. And in April, she again went to the reserve - found a couple, gave birth to babies.

In the natural environment, only mothers with children or two or three year old animals can live nearby while they are small.

On the biostation itself, as well as outside it, huntsmen equip special feeding grounds. Local restaurant for wild boars, deer, moose.

- In the first months, babies need mother's milk, because they still do not really know how to eat or drink. With mom, the moose calves live up to a year. The offspring appears in April - early May. And the next year, at the same time, she drives them away to ensure the safety of other newborns. By the year of life, they know everything necessary for survival in nature.

Adult moose eats up to 30 kilograms of feed per day - these are leaves, young shoots, tree bark. In the fall, they are happy to pick up fallen apples and mushrooms.

- In winter, we fed animals every day. We have four points where we drove up on the "loaves" and left the food. Huntsmen constantly go around the park in search of poachers. They are easy to track, ”explained Yutkin.

In just four to five hours, huntsmen overcome the route of 35 kilometers, but the patrol does not have a clear schedule.

Dina, on her stilt legs, ran up to us and carefully picked up slices of bread and carrots with her lips.

“Porridge and bread are top dressing,” Ivan Yutkin smiles. - A day they eat about 5 kilograms of porridge. The main feed is branch. We will import willow and aspen branches specially for them.

In spring, moose gladly eat new shoots, birch buds, in winter - aspen bark, as well as spruce and pine spruce branches, which, in addition to a delicious “ruminant” consistency, contain a large amount of vitamins.

By the way, these exquisite gastronomic preferences are the main reason why moose are practically not kept in zoos. In a daily diet, animals need fresh branches and tree bark. Otherwise, they will simply perish.

Wooden feeders stylized as wells are like chests for precious stones. Inside are pinkish salt licks. For elks, this is a kind of mineral food supplement - it improves digestion, regulates metabolism and water-salt balance in the body. Each such “jewel” weighs about 2.5–3 kilograms, on average it lasts for three months.

Phlegmatic in nature, the moose is a rather harmless animal. He will not kick the hoof of a person unless he himself provokes the beast.

However, over the summer in Moscow and the region, several cases of “attack” of an elk on a person usually occur. True, the guilty (as well as the victims) are, as a rule, people.

- Some, seeing a wild animal in the forest, try to get in touch with him: pet, take a selfie. Individuals try to ride, ”says Ivan. - The animal, of course, begins to defend itself.

An interesting detail: the moose is ready to strike at any time and with any foot. In case of emergency, protecting his own life or offspring, he can rise to his hind legs and strike with his front hoof. So it’s not worth provoking it. Let him stand calmly, eat bark by a tree, and you go where you went.

The only time when the moose can attack a person is autumn. From August to October, the elk has a rutting season, when males are actively looking for females for breeding. And at this time they can be aggressive. The ecologist notes: it is during the mating season that moose go on the road, wanting to cut the path in search of a female. True, this is not the only reason for the frequent appearance of moose on the roads.

“To some extent, moose are substance abusers, they like, for example, the smell of gasoline,” says the head of the biological station.

Inhaling pungent odors, moose flee from insects, which sometimes settle in their large nostrils.

The moose does not have clear boundaries. Speaking romantically - by nature, an elk is a tramp. According to the rangers, in the summer, moose can walk about 50–70 kilometers. Therefore, there are frequent cases when they wander into the most unusual places, including the metropolis.

- I will never forget one case. In August 2010, the moose entered the freight depot of the Kazan railway station in Moscow. He looked so ridiculous among cars and locomotives, - laughs Ivan. Then our huntsman service took him away from there. But this is very rare. If moose find themselves in a city near residential buildings, far from the forest, they usually still do not leave. Most often today, moose can be seen in the east of Moscow, in the Golyanovo region and also in the Losinoostrovsky district, in a word, in the adjacent areas.

- Is it a pity to part with the pupils? - I ask Ivan when we again pass by the board of graduates.

“It's a pity, especially when you raised and fed a calf from the very beginning,” the voice of the head of the biostation seemed to tremble a little. - But one thing I know for sure: these animals for the whole life remember those who worked with them.

Boris Samoilov, Director of the All-Russian Research Institute of Ecology, editor-in-chief of the Moscow Red Book:

- Before the creation of the national park in 1983, the increase in the number of moose in Elk Island was limited to the huntsman service that existed in those years, which regularly licensed a certain part of the animals under license. Then this woodland from the east was not isolated by the town and cottage buildings of Balashikha and Shchelkova, and moose, if necessary, had the opportunity to leave from here to the forests of the Moscow region. In addition, at least 4–5 animals died annually as a result of poaching by residents of the villages closest to Elk Island. Thus, the number of moose was maintained here at a level more or less acceptable for such an old and low-forest forest, although even then they caused significant harm to pine and spruce plantations. After assigning Elk Island the status of a national park, the number of moose here began to increase.

If, while walking through the forest, you find violations - cutting down trees, making fires in the wrong places, etc., you can complain to the following organizations:

■ Hot line of the Department of Nature Management of the city of Moscow: (495) 777-77-77

■ WWF (Moscow Branch): (495) 995-00-00