Research expedition arrives at Franz Josef Land

Research expedition arrives at Franz Josef Land

16 April 2018

Participants in this year’s first research expedition of Russian Arctic National Park have arrived at Franz Josef Land. Employees of the national park and the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences will study polar bears on Alexandra Land. 

Experts plan to take samples of polar bear fur, blood and fat in order to find organic pollutants in animals’ bodies. In addition, they will put collars on bears to track their migration routes, the Russian Arctic press service reports.


According to Ivan Mizin, the park’s deputy director for research, April is the best time for polar bear research on Franz Josef Land. “It is the time when female polar bears and their cubs leave their dens,” the researcher said. “Also, the days on the archipelago are already long enough, and the snow layer is firm, which will allow us to cover long distances in search of animals.”


According to Ilya Mordvintsev, a senior research fellow at the Severtsov Institute, this expedition will resume work that began there in 2010-2012. “Back then we took polar bears’ blood to test for diseases and fur to test for mercury and other heavy metals, and this time we will also take fat samples to detect persistent organic pollutants, which the animals come in contact with as part of the food chain,” he said.


The expedition will work on Alexandra Land, where the all-season field base of Omega National Park is located, until the end of April. The next research expeditions of Russian Arctic employees will take place in the summer. They will conduct biological, geological and archeological research both in the northern part of Novaya Zemlya and on several islands of Franz Josef Land.