White whales trapped by ice in Penkigngey Bay survive winter

White whales trapped by ice in Penkigngey Bay survive winter

11 May 2021

The white whales trapped by ice in Penkigngey Bay off the Chukchi Peninsula coast made it through the winter, Vlada Volchenko, PR specialist at Beringia National Park, reported to TASS.


Beringia National Park rangers discovered 20 whales in three ice holes on 19 April. According to the rangers, the ice holes were at least 40 km from open water. “The situation has not changed; the white whales are still encircled by ice, but the ice holes are gradually growing. It is getting warmer, the ice is melting, and the animals are breaking it with their movements,” Volchenko said.


She added that an expert on marine mammals visited the national park and evaluated the white whales’ condition.


“Some of them are fat, some are not so fat, but he did not notice any dead animals in the ice holes. Our rangers feed them from time to time, and all of us are waiting for the ice to melt in the bay,” she also said.


According to Beringia employees, whales often go too far down long bays to catch fish when the ice is forming and find themselves locked in there.


Beringia National Park is Russia’s easternmost protected area, located on the Chukchi Peninsula. It boasts over 640 species of Arctic flora, and its wildlife is unparalleled in abundance among the protected areas in the Russian tundra and tundra forest belt.