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Daily Destination: Primorsky Krai, Russia

Compass

You’ve probably heard by now about the golden eagle caught on camera swooping in to wrestle a deer to the ground. Although the attack happened in 2011, it didn’t hit the social media waves until an article about it appeared in the Journal of Raptor Research, setting off a series of news stories around the world.

Some people were fooled a while back by a prank video purporting to show an eagle picking up a small child, but this was the real deal: the deer’s carcass was found nearby. While they’re possible, eagle attacks on large animals are rare. "I've been assessing deer causes of death in Russia for 18 years — this is the first time I've seen anything like this," said Linda Kerley of the Zoological Society of London, who co-authored the journal article.

The story has also brought some attention to the Lazovskii State Nature Reserve, where the images were captured. One of a few protected areas in southeastern Russia’s Primorsky Krai region, this is a rugged land of mountains that break off as cliffs at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Its dense forests and streams sustain wildlife including the species of deer shown in the eagle photos and the endangered Siberian tiger, the world’s largest feline (the camera the eagle triggered was set up to capture tiger photos).

This kind of landscape and diversity draw both researchers and conservation-minded tourists, most of whom start in Vladivostok, Russia’s largest city on the Pacific Ocean.

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