Vertebrate animals. The faunafauna of vertebrate animals of Russia is well investigated and contains more than 1300 species belonging to 7 classes that makes about 2,7 % of the world variety. The number of rare species and disappearing species according to The Red Book of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1983) equals 197 (i.e. about 15 % of total number of species of vertebrate animals of Russia), that fact testifies adverse condition of faunafauna. Risk of loss of the most valuable part of the variety of animals of this group is rising in the today's conditions of transitional economy and structural social and economic crisis.
Mammals is the most investigated group of vertebrate animals of Russia. The number of species reaches 245 (cetaceans excluded), that makes about 7% of the world variety of this class. Owing to severe climatic conditions, the territory of the Russian Federation does not belong to regions with a high level of specific variety. The greatest number of species of mammals refers to rodents. The greatest specific variety is typical of regions of the Northern Caucasus, the south of Siberia and the south of the Far East. Application of cytogenetic methods revealed a significant amount of double - species that were not defined earlier.
Almost a quarter of the specific variety of mammals is registered in the Red Book of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. It is planned to include 64 species and subspecies into the second edition of the Red Book of Russia. About 90 species of mammals of Russia (33%) are under the threat of disappearance at regional level (basically in the countries of the Central and Western Europe), including 39 species (14%) at the global level. The latter include a number of species of whales and subspecies of large cats. About 60% of specific variety of mammals of Russia (cetaceans excluded) is found in special protected natural territories. Pinniped and ungulate animals have the least favourable conditions, the percentage of these species protected in reserves does not exceed 40%.
Mammal animals are mostly important among all trade natural resources. 60 species are basic hunting objects. Widely spread and numerous species of wild ungulate animals, first of all, elks, European and Siberian roe deers, wild boars have the greatest economic value.
The faunafauna of birds of Russia is well studied; it contains 732 species (8% of the world variety of this class). Endemic species are practically absent. Overwhelming number of species (515) are nesting birds, 27 species nest only in Russia. The most numerous are groups of sparrows, frost-birds and geese. The Red Book of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic includes 122 species of birds. The faunafauna of reptiles of Russia is not numerous (75 kinds), that is determined by severe climatic conditions of the most part of the territory, and makes approximately 1,2% of the world variety of this class of vertebrate animals. There are no endemic species. The greatest specific variety is observed in the south of the Far East and in the Northern and Western Caucasus.
The faunafauna of amphibia of Russia has 27 species that makes only 0,6% of the world variety of this class of vertebral animals. 4 species are included into the Red Book of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic,3 species are in danger in the European region. There are no endemic species. Almost all species of amphibia (96%) are found in protected territories. Their economic value is not significant. It is planned to include 8 species of amphibia into the second edition of the Red Book of Russia.
The faunafauna of fish of Russia is various. There are 269 fresh-water species and about 400 species of sea fish that are met in coastal waters. As a whole it makes about 2% of the world variety of the class. Endemic species are frequent among fresh-water faunafauna. Baikal Lake has the biggest number of endemic species. The greatest specific variety is typical of the Baikal region and the Amur River basin.
9 taxons are included into the Red Book of Russia (about 4,5% of the internal basins faunafauna) among which one species - atlantic sturgeon is included into the Red Book of The International Union of Wildlife and Natural Resources Management. 8,5% of fresh-water species are under the threat of disappearance at regional level. It is planned to include 44 taxons of fish into the second edition of the Red Book of Russia.
Ground invertebrate animals is the most numerous in species group of the faunafauna, numbering tens thousand species. Many of them, in particular insects and earthworms, play an essential role in ecosystems (pollination of plants, biological protection of agricultural crops, soil-making processes), other species do significant harm to plants (needle and leaf-eating insects, locust).
Direct economic use of ground invertebrate animals remains, nevertheless, insignificant. Traditionally melliferous bees and silkworms are mostly usedAccording to incomplete data, the number of species of ground invertebrates in the territory of Russia is estimated nowadays in quantity about 130-150 thousand species (or about 10% of the world variety).
The coasts of Arctic Ocean are populated with polar bears, walruses, seals, ember-geese and seagulls. Hares, lemmings, white foxes, wolves, partridges, snowy owls are met in tundra. Partridges and hares change colours in spring and autumn. Migrant birds, including geese, swans, ducks, terns and sandpipers nest in tundra in a short northern summer. In spring reindeers migrate in tundra to the north to birth chevrotains, and go back to taiga by winter where a thin layer of snow makes search of feed easier.
Elk, musk deer, lynx, wolf, white fox, brown bear, glutton, marten, stoat, sable are typical animals of Russian taiga. Beavers, voles, wall-creepers, squirrels, chipmunks are also often found in taiga. Birds: wood-grouse, crossbill, woodpecker, jay and various species of owls.
Big animals of mixed and deciduous woods are almost completely exterminated as a result of agricultural development of the territory. Still there are small populations of wild boars, brown bears, red deer, beavers, badgers and minks. Wild boars and elks are found in the woods of Eastern Siberia.
Approximately 60 species of mammals and 70 species of birds among those that live in the territory of the Russian Federation are objects of hunting. Wild ungulate animals, brown bears and fur-bearing animals have the greatest economic value.Game-preserves of Russia have the total area of 1,6 billion hectares. The biggest game-preserves are situated in the Far East, East-Siberian, West-Siberian, Northern and Ural economic regions.
Hunting and fur trade give various production: furs, meat of wild animals and birds. Natural crude drug became very important recently. The following kinds of crude drug of animal origin are produced annually in the Russian Federation: antlers of dappled deer and reindeer, bear bile, horns of saiga, etc. Export of this production may be estimated in hundred millions dollars a year.