Lake Baikal is home to more than 2,000 species of plants and animals, two-thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world, including the Baikal omul fish
and Baikal oil fish
as well as the nerpa
, one of the world's only freshwater species of seal.
Bears, elk, lynx and other wildlife abound in the surrounding forests and mountains.
Despite its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
, Lake Baikal continues to come under threat from industrial pollution, agricultural run-off and other environmental problems, including nearby mining activities and potential oil and gas exploration.
The threat of an oil pipeline along the lake’s north shore was averted in 2006 thanks to efforts by WWF and many other environmental organizations.