Polar Bear Patrol surveys bears, prepares for the arrival of walruses

Polar Bear Patrol surveys bears, prepares for the arrival of walruses

30 June 2015

Cape Kozhevnikova attracts both walruses and polar bears. The latter feed on the remains of walruses there and sometimes make dens on the shore. Two weeks ago, a young polar bear, approximately three years old, attempted to approach the patrol’s base but patrollers used flair guns to drive the animal back to Cape Kozhevnikova, where he stayed for four days before heading back to the sea.


Though the first walruses are expected to come ashore on Cape Kozhevnikova in the East Siberian Sea in late August-early September, the Polar Bear Patrol in the village of Ryrkaypiy is already cleaning up the rookery, removing logs and scrap metal to make the walruses comfortable despite the presence of a village nearby. The first stage of the cleanup was done in polar night, as that was the only time when equipment was not being used for other purposes, and the next day children from a local school volunteered to help.


“Cape Kozhevnikova is a very important area for the protection of marine mammals,” Viktor Nikiforov, head of the WWF Polar Bear Patrol, said. “Every year, from 5,000 to 50,000 animals come ashore there. In the village of Ryrkaypiy, the Polar Bear Patrol gets help from the local administration and schoolchildren, and a local construction firm provided equipment for the cleanup free of charge.”


(Photo © Tatyana Minenko)