First images taken this year of Novaya Zemlya reindeer in Russian Arctic National Park
Images showing a herd of Novaya Zemlya reindeer on Cape Zhelaniya on Severny Island, part of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, have been released. The area is located not far from the field base of Russian Arctic National Park in the Arkhangelsk Region. The subspecies is listed in the Russian Red Data Book.
Specialists believed for a long time that the endemic reindeer subspecies had blended with animals brought from other places. However, several Novaya Zemlya reindeer were spotted on Cape Zhelaniya in 2014. Seven years later, in 2021, a helicopter crew took pictures of three female reindeer with an unusual white coat color.
“From 2014 until 2021, specialists from the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the Russian Academy of Sciences conducted a number of research projects confirming the unique and isolated genetic structure of the Novaya Zemlya reindeer subspecies. It is necessary to study this subspecies from an academic and practical standpoint, so as to clearly discern between the endemic subspecies and unprotected reindeer subspecies on Yuzhny (South) Island of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago. It is also no less important to locate reindeer breeding grounds on Severny (North) Island of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago. We will work on this,” said Alexander Kirilov, director of Russian Arctic National Park.
The Novaya Zemlya reindeer subspecies is an important component of the ecosystem of the national park’s southern cluster. In addition, there is reason to believe that polar bears may hunt these reindeer, although rarely.