Wildlife and environment
Efforts to protect walrus haulouts in Nenets Nature Reserve
© RIA Novosti. Vera Kostamo

Efforts to protect walrus haulouts in Nenets Nature Reserve

Steps are being taken in the Nenets State Nature Reserve under a project to set up seasonal outposts needed to protect Atlantic walrus haulouts on Matveyev Island, the reserve's administration said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Matveyev Island, which is part of the Nenets State Nature Reserve, is one of the largest summer-autumn haulouts used by the Atlantic walrus subspecies in the southeastern part of the Barents Sea. Up to 2,000 walruses rest and feed there. Matveyev Island is the remotest area of the reserve and therefore it is virtually inaccessible for state inspectors.

"It should be acknowledged that increased attention towards the Arctic from all sides increases the number of unsanctioned visits to the reserve's Arctic islands by groups of travelers and ship and air crews. As a result, Atlantic walruses at their haulouts are becoming increasingly disturbed," the report says.

The project took on significance when it became clear that not just male walruses but also females with calves of all ages gather on Matveyev Island.

Part of the necessary equipment has already been purchased to ensure uninterrupted power supply for the staff during their stay on the island.