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Known as the pearl of Siberia, Lake Baikal is the oldest, largest, and deepest freshwater lake in the world. Some 395 miles long and 50 miles wide, it contains about one-fifth of the fresh water on the globe, more than the five Great Lakes combined. More than 330 rivers and major streams feed it, but the Angara River is the only waterway that flows out of the lake. Because Baikal is very well oxygenated to even its lowest depths, and geographically isolated, it provides a rich ecosystem for an unusual range of animal species, including more than 50 species of fish and large mammals such as bear, moose, elk, deer, and the nerpa seal. Tens of millions of crayfish of several different varieties dispose of ...

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