- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
41

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS
41
maples, walnuts, sweet-chestnuts, lindens, poplars,
and other leafy trees; and among the trees are
twined wild vines, smilax, clematis, and other
creepers. Higher up wc find the evergreen-oak,
horse-chestnut, linden, maple, beech, eim, ash, and
aspen, and along the streams the alder; higher up
again the birch and the fir begin, until the former
gets the upper hand. The tree-line is reached
at about 2,200 metres, and above that the pastures
go up again towards 3,000 metres.
The animal life is quite a rich one. There are
bears, wolves, jackals (which break the peace of
night with their howling), hyenas, lynxes, wild-cats,
leopards, and also an occasional tiger. Among the
game there are many wild pigs and deer in the
forests, and in the mountains chamois, ibex, and
wild goats. Up in the forests, in the high westerly
part ofthe range, there are also herds ofthe European
bison, one of the few places where there are still
found some last remains of this wild ox, which
together with the kindred aurochs was once spread
over the whole of Europe. Among the game-birds
may be especially mentioned the pheasant, of
which there are many, and whose original home is
here near the river Rion, the Phasis of the Greeks,
whence the nåme.
The domestic animals are cows, sheep, goats,
horses, asses, buffaloes. Agriculture is primitive,
wooden ploughs are still mostly used, drawn by
buffaloes or oxen ; but even this is only in the low
fertile stretches with a plentiful soil; on the small
patches of soil on ledges up on the mountain-side

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