Geography
Victoria Island to become part of Russian Arctic National Park in 2017
© RIA Novosti. Ramil Sitdikov

Victoria Island to become part of Russian Arctic National Park in 2017

Victoria Island may become part of Russian Arctic National Park this year. Park management is currently drawing up the required documents, Acting Park Director Alexander Kirilov said.

"We hope to complete all the formalities this year. We have drafted a feasibility study that needs to be adjusted slightly. After that, we'll launch the state environmental expert review process, and then the Russian government will draft a directive. This simple and understandable process is time-consuming," Kirilov noted.

Scientists are interested in the island which needs further study, he said. It is inhabited by polar bears, and a large walrus breeding-ground and a huge ivory gull colony are located there.

"This small island is 500 meters wide, and glaciers account for 99 percent of the surface. This makes it unique because the center of the icecap was located here during the Ice Age. So the island is a good place for studying the glacier-melting process," Kirillov added.

Victoria Island is located between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land, and the Barents Sea's northern boundary passes via it.

In 2016, the Russian Arctic National Park's area was expanded by 7.4 million hectares after Franz Josef Land was added to it. It now totals about 8.8 million hectares.