Wildlife and environment
Scientists to track polar bears on Vaygach Island and Novaya Zemlya Archipelago
© Yaroslav Nikitin

Scientists to track polar bears on Vaygach Island and Novaya Zemlya Archipelago

Scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution will place satellite collars on polar bears in order to monitor their population in the Kara Sea and Barents Sea in early spring, the Nenets Autonomous Area government agencies' website reported. The research expedition also involves experts from the Area's Nature Management and Environmental Protection Center, representatives of the World Wide Fund for Nature and Russian Arctic National Park.

There are plans to tag ten adult polar bears with satellite collars. The animals will be immobilized with tranquilizer guns fired from helicopters.

"The tranquilizer gun shoots darts over a range of 30-40 meters. This is sufficient for hitting bears from helicopters. We will immobilize all polar bears but will only tag females, because males have a different skull structure, which causes satellite collars to fall off quickly," staff members at the Nature Management Center noted.

In 2016, during a three-day helicopter mission scientists conducted a similar expedition in the same area and tagged 12 polar bears, eight walruses, four beluga whales and flocks of eider birds that spend the winter season here.