The State Nature Zakaznik of federal importance ‘Samurski’ was established by the Order No 162 dated 28.05.1982 of the Main Management Board of Hunting Economy and Nature Reserves at the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, without expiration date.
Allocated to Daghestan Nature Reserve by the Order No 362 dated 3.11.2009 of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation. The State Natural Zakaznik of federal importance ‘Samurski’ is a biological (zoological) sanctuary and is intended to preserve and restore valuable commercial, as well as rare and endangered objects of wildlife and their habitats.
The Zakaznik covers 11,200 ha, and is located in Magaramkent (9,300 ha) and Derbent (1,900 ha) districts. On the territory of the Zakaznik there are 7 villages, the state institution ‘Samurski Forest Park’, 3 frontier posts, Primorski piscicultural plant, lands of several agricultural enterprises, Ltd. ‘Tagirkentski Tinned Food Factory’. Land plots of the forest fund are leased by more than 30 tenants.
The main objects of protection are the wild boar, roe deer, jungle cat, wildcat, stopovers and wintering sites of waterbirds, the spur-thighed tortoise and other species of rare and endangered animals, as well as a unique natural complex of delta liana forests.
The territory includes floodplain deciduous liana forests of the Samur River Delta, dissected by numerous river arms and rivulets, also coastal lakes, lagoons, beaches and 500-metre zone of the Caspian Sea shallows.
Samur forests represent a complex of poplar, alder, oak and hornbeam forests which continuous woodlands formerly covered almost the entire river delta. Nowadays, fairly large forest areas are occupied by artificial plantations (the walnut, Robinia pseudoacacia, Gleditsia, apple-trees, pomegranate and coniferous trees, etc.). In the mouths of the Samur River branches and springs there formed small marshes, shallow lakes and maritime lagoons, heavily overgrown with above-water vegetation. Open areas are dominated with wormwood-grassy semi-desert complexes and psammophilous vegetation of coastal sands.
Flora of the Samurski Zakaznik has more than 1,000 species, among them many endemic and relict forms, as well as rare and endangered species entered into the Data Red Books of Russia and Daghestan (Atropa belladonna, Pterocarya pterocarpa, Hedera pastuchowii, Orchis palustris, Ophrys caucasica Woronow, Ophris oestrifera, etc.).
The Samur River Delta holds more than 300 bird species, of them above 130 species breed or presumably breed. There are recorded 51 rare and endangered species listed in the Red Data Books of Dagestan, Russia, and IUCN Red List (the Black Stork, Flamingo, Dalmatian Pelican, White-tailed Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, White-headed Duck, White-eyed Pochard, Avocet, Collared Pratincole, Purple Swamphen, etc.). The Samur River Mouth is designated to be an Important Bird Area of global significance as a site of mass migration and wintering of birds.
The Zakaznik carries out joint scientific investigations by staff-workers of the Daghestan Reserve and scientists from other organizations. The main ecological problems of the Zakaznik include breaking of the hydrological regime of the Samur River, cattle overgrazing and cutting down of trees in the forest, recreation and economic development of the territory, contamination of the territory with waste, and poaching. The territory is guarded by four staff-workers of the Daghestan Reserve with assistance of the Task Force on the Protection of Federal Zakazniks.