The  low  mountains  of  the  Sikhote-Alin in the southern  Russian  Far  East represent an enclave of some of the rarest animals and plants on Earth, many of which occur nowhere else in the world. In fact, 25% of endangered vertebrates in Russia are concentrated here, in this temperate rainforest representing only 1% of the country’s vast territory. Why this bloom of biodiversity, and why here? This entire corner of northeast Asia escaped glaciation during the Pleistocene, an epoch that ended about 12,000 years ago. Consequently, the flora and fauna that lived here before the ice age, unimpeded by the mile-deep ice that disrupted similar species assemblages elsewhere, persisted. The oak- and pine-dominated forests of the Sikhote-Alin provide excellent habitat for Amur tigers, the ungulates they depend on, brown bears, Asiatic black bears, Eurasian lynx, Leopard cat, and hundreds of bird species.