Polar bears and walruses on Cape Kozhevnikov

Polar bears and walruses on Cape Kozhevnikov

22 October 2015

Cape Kozhevnikov, a regional nature reserve, was set up on the Arctic coast of Chukotka to protect polar bears and a massive coastal rookery of Pacific walruses. Ryrkaipiy, a near-by rural settlement of Chukotka native inhabitants, helped in the effort.


This year the first walruses appeared near Cape Kozhevnikov on 14 August and left the nature reserve on 12 October. Up to 30,000 walruses were resting in the area. At the same time, a female polar bear with a bear cub and three male bears dropped by. The Polar Bear Patrol and volunteers ensured the safety of the rookery.


Over two months, polar bears tried to enter Ryrkaipiy twice but were driven away with signal rockets.


“This year, over 100 walruses died at the rookery,” said Varvara Semyonova, project coordinator at the Marine Mammal Council. “Mostly these were pups. Such a situation took place due to the large number of walruses in the rookery this year. When in a panic, sometimes caused by walruses themselves, adult animals rapidly moved towards the water, trampling their pups on the way.”


Ms Semyonova also said that a lot of dead walruses had been found on the shore and in the vicinity of Ryrkaipiy. She said they had to be removed to prevent polar bears from coming to the settlement.


(Photo © Varvara Semyonova/Maxim Deminov)