Zagatala State National Park
- Year of foundation: 1929
- Area (hectare): 47349 ha
- Location: Within the territory of Zagatala and Balakan administrative districts, on the southern micro slope in the middle part of the Major Caucasus Ridge.
Description: Established in administrative areas of Zagatala and Balakan regions in 1929. Its area totals to 47349 ha. In During the period of its existence, the reserve has belonged to different organization and its area and borders have been changed. The reserve is situated at a height of 650 – 3,646 m above sea level. The reserve territory has a complicated relief due to spurs of the major ridge extending to the south and south-east: Agkemal, Katslar, Rochigel, Pichgel, Khalagel, Ruchug, Mrovdag and others, which are separated from each other by deep river valleys (canyons). Slopes with a steepness of 40-80 m and more occupy an area of more than 450 hectares; slopes with a steepness of 25-40 m prevail. The relief reflects the activity of glacier and other forms of erosion.
The asymmetry of the river basin is typical: the mountain slopes, deep canyons and valleys are sharply shaped. The Zaqatala reserve was organized with the purpose of protecting and studying the fauna and flora of the southern slopes of the Major Caucasus. The reserve territory is referred to by botanists as the Iberian area of the Caucasus flora province. At the end of the Tertiary period, the forests of this area had a different composition, with a considerable touch of elements of the Hirkan forests, and were much richer than the present ones. Contemporary flora of the reserve has more than a thousand species.
Such representatives of ancient plants as rhododendron yellow, Laurocerasus officinalis, Caucasian bilberry-bush, Taxus baccata, maple, Polypodiophyta and others are preserved on this territory. The main forest – forming species of the reserve – Fagus orientalis, as well as Quercus iberica and Corylus colurna are also referred to as ancient plants. The representatives of rare plants: Taxus baccata, apple-tree, ash-tree, birch-tree, cherry-tree, pear-tree and others are observed as well. The fauna of the reserve is rich in species composition. They are: Dagestan aurochs, chamois, red deer, roe, brown bear, fox, badger, Mustela nivalis, pine marten and stone marten, lynx, squirrel and others.
There are 104 species of birds, including some birds of prey: long-eared owl, golden eagle (Aquilla chrysaetos), Cerchneis tinnunculus, Neophron percnopterus, griffon (Gyps fulvus), bearded vulture (Cypaetus barbatus), black vulture and others. There are some rare, specially protected species of birds: bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), golden eagle (Aquilla chrysaetus), peregrine (Falco peregrinus), Tetraogallus, Accipiter badius, which are registered in the Red Book.