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Russian Arctic National Park to expand by 7.4 million hectares

There are plans to expand the area of Russian Arctic National Park by 7.4 million hectares by incorporating islands of the Franz Josef Land Archipelago and sea sectors. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed the relevant draft resolution, reports the press service of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

TASS quotes the announcement as saying: "The territory of Russian Arctic National Park in the Arkhangelsk Region has been expanded. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed the relevant draft resolution submitted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The area of the national park will gain 7.4 million hectares by incorporating islands of the Franz Josef Land Archipelago with an area of 1.6 million hectares, a 12 nautical miles-wide sector of inland sea waters and a territorial sea of the Russian Federation adjoining the archipelago, with an area of 5.8 million hectares."

Under the document, the national park's area will reach 8.8 million hectares, making it the largest specially protected natural territory in Russia. It will also become the country's largest land-based national park and marine wildlife sanctuary.

Expanded borders will help preserve rare Arctic animal and bird species found in the Russian Red Data Book and on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List, as well as their habitats.