The Barguzinskiy Reserve was established on 29 December 1916 (11 January 1917) to research, conserve and restore the sable. It is situated on the north-eastern shore of the Lake Baikal, on the western slopes of the Barguzin Range. Its area is 366,870 hectares. The Barguzinskiy Reserve is the first state natural reserve in Russia. There were only 20–30 specimens in the reserve at the time of its creation, whereas now there are 1–2 specimens per 1 sq. km. All natural objects and complexes, such as minerals, waters, soils, wildlife, air basin and vegetation, are subject to preservation and study. It is one of the few places where primeval forests still thrive.
The Barguzinskiy Reserve has been a part of UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 1986. It is a sign of an international recognition of its efforts in sable research and restoration, as well as in preserving natural biodiversity of the Baikal Region. The Reserve territory was wholly included into the Lake Baikal UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
According to a Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, 2017 is declared a year of natural areas of preferential protection with the aim to draw the public attention to preserving natural legacy, and in connection with the centenary of the foundation of Russia’s first state natural reserve.