Arctic scientific center to study polar bears and whales opens in Chukotka
A scientific center to minimize conflicts between polar bears and humans and control whale hunting was established in Chukotka. According to the center’s head Denis Litovka, the Chukotka Arctic Scientific Center was created on December 25, 2020 by the Chukotka department of natural resources and environment.
“The main thing is to create a regional scientific center and carry out comprehensive research into natural resource management. One of the center’s main tasks is establishing a network of public environmental inspectors to minimize conflicts between polar bears and humans in Chukotka,” Litovka noted.
He added that the center will also provide assistance to local “bear patrols.” Earlier, the idea of setting up a Polar Bear Center in Chukotka was put forward, but it was decided that it would be too narrow a focus for the center’s work given that other Red Data Book species besides polar bears needed to be studied, Litovka added.
“We decided to rekindle the idea that was put forward in 2018, when the Chukotka Arctic scientific center was on the agenda… It will work on practical tasks such as creating an inspector network and carrying out scientific research and measurements. We will also study cetaceans, because Chukotka is the only Russian region where whales are hunted,” he noted.
According to the center’s head, in addition to marine mammals, the center will study land animals, birds and issues related to the environment and changes in permafrost. The center runs on federal and regional money and will also apply for grants.