Bear Patrol in Allaikhovskyi and Lower Kolyma Regions of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia)
The project aims to monitor population of Polar bear species; it supports financially field activities (purchasing snow vehicles, outboard engines, trailers for temporary accommodation, fuel products, etc.). In Yakutia patrolling is carried out by educated professionals: specialists of the Directorate together with our local officers and local specialists of the State ecological control Agency.
Today observations take place in the following republican recourse reserves/sanctuaries:
- Lower Kolyma Region: “Kurdigino-Krestovaya” and “Medvezhyi/Bear Islands”
- Allaikhovskyi Region: coastal area of “Kitalyk” recourse reserve
Areas of Polar Bear Patrol in Yakutia
Since 2007 in accordance with the state program “Environmental conservation in the Sakha republic (Yakutia)” the Directorate of biological resources and protected areas organizes monitoring programs for the conservation of vulnerable species that are listed in the Red Book of Yakutia. One of the important animal species from this list is Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus). First observations on Polar bear in Yakutia took place on a territory of the Lower Kolyma region. In 2008 WWF Russia, which is a partner of the Ministry for Nature Protection of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) offered Yakutia to join the Bear Patrol project that was previously successfully implemented in Chukotka. The offer was accepted, later in 2011 the State ecological control Agency of Allaikhovskyi Region of Yakutia joined the project.
Bear’s trace. Photo by Yakovlev F. (2014)
It is generally accepted meaning that Wrangle Island (East-Siberian Sea, Chukotka) is the main Polar bear’s “maternity unit” in the Russian Far East; here the highest number of females’ dens is registered. However Wrangle Island is represented by a vast territory. It was found out that during peak years when population reaches maximum numbers, the density of bear’s dens on Medvezhyi/Bear Island is higher to compare with Wrangle Island.
A Bear’s den Female and a cub
Photos by Sleptsov R. (2014)
This fact made us possible to form recommendations to place Medvezhyi/Bear Island in the list of protected areas of the Russian Federation for obtaining a federal status of “zapovednik/nature reserve” by 2020.
Fact 1. In 2011 18 dens and 26 newborn cubs were registered. It was estimated that at least 55-60 bears of various age groups had stayed on the studied area; such concentration of animals were caused by formation of an extensive polynya, which occurred that period.
Fact 2. Since 2005 annually 20-30 specimens are registered in average every autumn near Krestovyi Cape (Lower Kolyma territory). Previously occurrence of 3-5 animals was usual for the territory.
Fact 3. In 2012 during patrolling a female cub was found, however the cub’s mother and any traces of her presence were not detected. Officers had to adopt the animal; the cub was called Kolymana. Today Kolymana is located at republican Orto-Doidu Zoo near Yakutsk. In December 2012 in order to ensure reproduction of the bear in the future, a young bear male was brought from Leningrad’s Zoo that was born in 2011.
Mother with cubs. Photo by Yakovlev F. (2014)