Rosprirodnadzor, Arctic Initiatives and Clean Seas join hands to save polar bears

Rosprirodnadzor, Arctic Initiatives and Clean Seas join hands to save polar bears

26 March 2020

The Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor), the Arctic Initiatives Centre, a Russian NGO, and the Clean Seas, an international environmental foundation, decided to combine their efforts to save the unique polar bears.  An agreement to this effect was signed on 25 March.


“These Red Data Book animals hunting has been banned for nearly 70 years, but this does not stop poachers. They go on with their barbarous business,” Rosprirodnadzor Head Svetlana Radionova said.


She stressed that there were other threats like global warming and human economic activities, which were affecting the bear population.   


«Litter has sneaked into this predator’s diet, and this is a scary fact. On top of that, we still do not know the exact number of animals in the three main polar bear populations,” she added.  


The agreement authorises a study of the coastal areas from Yamal to Taymyr, a test aerial survey to count polar bears and marine mammals, and an assessment of the environmental situation in the Russian Arctic as a whole. The resultant data may help to identify the scale of the threat and assist in the drafting of a detailed plan to protect the Red Data Book species.


Early this year, Clean Seas suggested organising test aerial surveys of the polar bear and marine mammal populations in the Russian Arctic ahead of  the launch of the Environment national project aimed at preserving and restoring the polar bear population.


The Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the Russian Academy of Sciences has stepped in to help develop a scientific programme for the test aerial surveys that provides for the visual count of polar bears, marine mammals, oil spills and litter accumulations, with the use of photographic and infrared equipment.


The project will be implemented between August and September 2020. The test aerial surveys will be carried out by Russian-made La-8 and a-42 amphibian aircraft as well as by drones. The scientific expedition will cover an area of more than 10,000 kilometres.