Polar bear aerial survey to be held in August

Polar bear aerial survey to be held in August

28 July 2020

As part of the Master of the Arctic project, researchers will undertake an expedition during which they will make test flights on a La-8 plane to practise aerial methods of counting polar bears and sea mammals. Specialists plan to assess the number and distribution of polar bears in the Russian Arctic and study their condition in summer and autumn (ice-free period). They will pay special attention to the presence of female polar bears with cubs of different ages on the islands and coast of the Kara Sea.


In addition, experts will study the distribution and population of sea mammals and assess the influence of natural and anthropogenic factors on them.


During the expedition, specialists will study the anthropogenic pollution of surface waters.


The research programme to study polar bears and sea mammals in the coastal areas of the Kara Sea in summer and autumn based on the data of the test aerial surveys by the La-8 plane was developed by the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Researchers will take a direct part in the expedition and follow-up conclusions.


 They plan to study the northern part of the Yamal and Yavai peninsulas, the western side of the Taimyr Peninsula (Pyotr Chichagov Coast), the Minina Skerries Archipelago, the islands of Bely, Shokalsky, Neupokayev, Sibiryakov, Nosok and Dikson, the Gulf of Ob, Khalmyer Bay, Baydaratskaya Bay, Khaypudyr Bay, Vaygach Island, part of the Pechora Sea, and the southern regions of the Kara Sea. The area under study stretches across three Russian regions – the Nenets Autonomous Area, the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area and the KrasnoyarskTerritory.


The aerial survey is scheduled for 2 ΜΆ 20 August 2020.


The researchers will use the obtained results to develop and improve the methods of counting polar bears and sea mammals of the Arctic. The results will be presented at international scientific conferences as Russia’s contribution to studying, preserving and monitoring the condition of cross-border sea mammals. They will be also submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Rosprirodnadzor and the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency, which will elaborate strategies for preserving rare animals and assessing the current state of Arctic ecosystems.


The Master of the Arctic project is a joint effort of Rosprirodnazor and the Clean Seas International Environmental Foundation, with the support of the Arctic Initiatives Centre.