Russia, US complete 1st stage of polar bear aerial surveys

Russia, US complete 1st stage of polar bear aerial surveys

10 May 2016

In April-May, Russian and US scientists are conducting aerial surveys of the Chukotka and Alaska population of ice seals and polar bears as part of the Russian-US cooperation programme on the conservation of wild species of flora and fauna for 2016–2018.


The joint research expedition involves members of the Marine Mammal Council and experts from the Giprorybflot Research Institute, the Chukotka branch of the TINRO-Centre (Asia-Pacific Research and Fishery Centre), and the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the Russian Academy of Sciences.


On 18-26 April, the Antonov An-26 aircraft lab based in Pevek made four flights to the Russian part of the Chukchi Sea and the eastern part of the East Siberian Sea.


The aircraft surveyed 20 long stretches of the seas totalling 7.2 km.  The dimensional and visual monitoring registered seals (bearded and ringed) and polar bears. Numerous data (hundreds of registrations) was collected in polar bear habitats. The flights were made in good weather conditions and produced a lot of data for assessing local mammal populations.


On 10-24 May, the second stage of the aerial monitoring will be held in the Chukchi Sea.