Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) could see new Novosibirsk Islands sanctuary
© RIA Novosti. Evgeniy Epanchintsev

Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) could see new Novosibirsk Islands sanctuary

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi has submitted a proposal to establish a Novosibirsk Islands Federal Sanctuary in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Ministry's website reports.

According to Donskoi, it is necessary to create a nature sanctuary on the islands in order to conserve the island's ecosystems, rare plants and animals and unique archeological landmarks, as well as to develop environmental tourism in the Arctic.

The sanctuary will be established in the Bulunsky District of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) on the Novosibirsk Archipelago (the Anzhu and De Long islands) and in adjacent sections of the Laptev and East Siberian seas. The total protected area will be 8,427,500 hectares, including privately owned land (2,854,000 hectares in the Bulunsky District) and a sector of the inner sea and the Russian territorial sea (extending 12 nautical miles from the shore) adjacent to the Novosibirsk Islands (5,573,500 hectares).

The reserve will include Arctic tundra with swamps, stony deserts, sea sand-ridges and dunes with rare plants, Arctic deserts and semi-deserts. There are rare plants on the Novosibirsk Islands, such as Rhodiola rosea (protected by the Red Data Book), the Draba pohlei, Artemisia borealis richardsoniana, Ranunculus spitzbergensis and the Ranunculus samojedorum, which is protected by the Yakutian Red Data Book.

Throughout the year, the polar bear and Laptev seal (bearded seal) live in the waters near the Novosibirsk Islands.

There are three archeological landmarks on the islands at this time, that serve to mark the initial discovery and exploration of the islands, as well as the largest deposits of fossil ivory and other Pleistocene Epoch fauna remains. A Stone Age settlement was discovered on Zhokhov Island, which is the northernmost settlement of its kind.

The Ust-Lensky Federal Nature Reserve (Republic of Sakha, Yakutia) would manage the new sanctuary.