Biodiversity of Kolkheti National park
The sand dunes displaced by the sae waves along the coast for centuries moved the lagoon away the saline water of the sae, pure water flowing from the river Pichori into lake Paliastomi made lake water fresh and as a result an ideal living environment for different species of fish was created in the three-meter-deep natural reservoir.
Colchis wetlands in the first place, are important in its relict origin. This lowland is the remain of Cenozoic era – tropical and subtropical landscape, which about 10 million years ago was stretched as continuous line on the whole Eurasian continent. In Kolkheti the plants, which are characteristic for a remote northern tundra nd taiga wetlands, still exist.
In marshes there are boreal species strange for Colchis – Sphangum mosses ((Spagnumimbricatum, Sp. palustre, Sp. acutiflium), round-leaved sundew (Droserarotundiflora), Northern sedge (Carexlasiocarpa) and Alpin plants sedge and rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum). In wetlands and humid forests there are alder, wingnut, Imeretian oak and Quercushartwissiana with is well-developed evergreen understory (Colchis ivy and others). In the sandy zone of dunes there are sea-buck-thorn, paliurus and others.
Composition of water-plant species is diverse. In the peripherial zone of the peatbog, along the river gorges and emerged wetland forests, 9-10 m high Colchisdominate. Here rarely can be found wingnut, imeretian oak or maple. Still remain- ivy, lianas, smilax, boxwood, azalea, rhododendron, ruscus, holly and butcher’s broom.
Kolkheti National Park area is especially interesting in botanical point of view. Here are phytocenoses complexes, which are quite diverse with floristic composition and ricj in relict and endemic species –different plant groups of sandy dunes located along marshland, wetland forests and the sea. Phytocenoses complexes are mainly represented by following species: spurge, blue thistle, Colchis sedge, Imeretianblady grass, astragalus, coastal hedge nettle, fingedcampion, paliurus, hawthorn, sea-buckthorn and others.
Species included in the “Red List” of Georgia
From rare and endangered species in the “Red List” of Georgia are included: Colchosoak (Quercushartwissiana), wingnuts (Pterocaryapterocarpa) and Colchis boxwood (Buxuscolchica). From damaged representaves of flora the list includes: ash-tree (Fraxinusexscelsior), Georgian oak (Quercusiberica) and alder (Alnusbarbata); The status of endangered plants heve two speies – yellow poppy and sea lily.
194 species of birds live in Kolkheti National Park, here is as well the annual migration route of many birds. In autumn – from north to south and in spring – from warm countries to their nesting places, while for some species Kolkheti is wintering place (they no longer need to go further).
In October it is possible to watch birds of prey flying along the Black Sea coast. Buzzards, black kites, kestrels, hobbies, falcons, harriers, honey buszzrds, sea eagle, Imperial and steppe eagles fly to the south soaring in different height and speed.
In winter groups of ducks, geese, swans, whistlers and cormorants come from the north.
The following distributed locally species: woodcocks, curlews, coots, whistlers, white-fronted geese, whooper and trumpeter swans, white pelican and great spotted eagle wintering here. It will be difficult to meet the most beautiful feathered creature – Colchis Pheasant.
From big mammals in Colchis swampy groves, forests and bushes there are: Jackal (Canisaureus), boar (Sus scrofa), roe (Capreoluscapreolus) and otter (Lutralutra).
From amphibians living in Kolkheti tree-frog and pond frogs attract attention.
From reptiles- plain and Asia Minor Newt, water snake, aesculapian snake and pond turtle are spread.
Ichthyofauna of the National park is represented by 88 species of fish (23 passing, 21 freshwater, and 44 black sea species). From cartilaginous fish the notable species are the Atlantic sturgeon and from bony fish – The Black Sea salmo , herring, gray mullet, pike, mackerel and others.
Species from the “Red List” of Georgia
It should be noted that in Kolkheti National Park there are 6 pecies of mammals from the “Red List” of Georgia. Sea mammals are re[rsented by 3 species of dophins: bottlense (Tursiopstruncatus),white-sided dolphin (Delphinusdelphinus) and harbour porpoise (Phocoenaphocoena).
In the park water ecosystems there are: beluga (Husohuso), bastard sturgeon (Acipensersturio), Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenserstelatus),Black Sea salmon (Salmofario (truta) morpha), goby (Gobius (Neogobius) fluvatilis) and vyrezub (Rutilusfrisii).
Accordin to the existing data nowadays 16 endemic small mammals inhabit in the National Park, among the:Eastern European hedgehog (Erinaceusconcolor), Caucasian mole (Talpacaucasica), dwarf pipistrellus (Pipistrelluspipistrellus), common bent-wing bat (Miniopterusschreibersii), a small wood mouse (Sylvamusuralensis), Caucasian wood mouse (Sylvaemusfulvipectus) and others.