This is how the cooled lava flows look like inside the Krasheninnikov caldera. On the background you can see the neighboring volcano, Kronotskaya Sopka (aka Kronotsky volcano). Last time Krasheninnikov erupted several hundred years ago, but even now there is not much of fauna in this harsh place. Lichens, bushes and grass only grows in low places, under the protection of lava fragments. Nevertheless black-capped marmots seem to enjoy living in this harsh place located around 3000 feet above the sea level. This area offers lots of hiding places from predators in the volcanic rocks, and the ground here drains well ensuring dry accommodations during long hibernation in a burrow. There are at least forty colonies of marmots in Kronotsky reserve, but the largest known on is located in this caldera. Zoologists knew about it even before WWII. From that time the population of marmots in this colony remained stable – approximately two hundred individuals.
I only spent two days in caldera, this time is not enough to photograph different aspects of marmots life. I have only taken several “random” shots of animals watching my movements from the tops of those volcanic “sculptures”.
And in the last photo two close relatives from squirrel family have been captured: a black-capped marmot and a ground squirrel.
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