The Republic of Khakasia is in the southwestern part of Eastern Siberia, with most of its area lying within Minusinsk Hollow. These lands fall under the protection of the Khakassky State Nature Reserve.
The nature reserve is home to a number of animals: birds, fish, amphibians and mammals. Many of these species are on the Russian endangered species list. Reserve employees keep a watchful eye on their animals, and study their habits and behaviour. Some of the most interesting critters to watch are ground squirrels. These animals are famous in large part thanks to their habit of standing straight as a rod while surveying their surroundings. Scientists, with RTG TV host Igor Maksimenko in tow, found that this also helps a ground squirrel to avoid heatstroke: when standing, the ground squirrel's head is far enough away from the scorching-hot soil to escape the intense heat. Several beaver families are permanent residents of the nature reserve as well. Scientists think that these animals lived here even back in the 1500s. Together with reserve employee Viktor Okayemov, Igor had a look at beaver lodges, learned how to identify which trees have been felled by beavers, and also found out just what it means when a beaver slaps its tail on the water.