Reserve "Wrangel Island": photo and description, location, animal and plant world
Russia is the largest country on our planet. Its territory has everything from hot sea resorts to snow-capped mountains.
Deep lakes of Russia, crystal clear rivers, fabulously beautiful taiga, in which amazing animals live - all this is the wealth of our Motherland. However, even such an unusually rich nature is constantly in need of care and, of course, protection. Therefore, to preserve the surrounding ecosystem, special protected reserves of Russia are created - “Wrangel Island”, “Kivach”, Arctic, Altai, etc. All of them are under state protection.
There are 103 such zones in our country. They are scattered throughout the territory of the Russian Federation and occupy an area of about 27.38 million hectares. All nature reserves are bases for research.Scientists are given the opportunity to study the life of animals in their usual habitat, observe plants, and also work to preserve flora and fauna.
In this article we will talk about where the Wrangel Island reserve is located, what animals live in it, and also present some photos of this amazing corner of nature.
“Umkilir”, which means “Island, where polar bears live,” - this is how the locals call this amazing place. For a long time, it was just a beautiful Chukchi legend. In 1820-1824, the island unsuccessfully tried to look for the navigator, statesman F. P. Wrangel. And only in 1849 G. Kellett, a traveler and explorer from Great Britain, saw two pieces of land in a telescope in the water area of the Chukchi Sea. The discoverer called them his name and the name of his ship. This is how Kellett’s Land appeared on the world map with Herald Island, which was later renamed Wrangel Island.
This amazing piece of land is located in the Arctic Ocean, in the area between the Chukchi and East Siberian seas.
The name of the island was in memory of a manwho had long and unsuccessfully tried to find him - the Russian navigator and statesman Ferdinand Wrangel. To date, this land is part of the same nature conservation zone. The UNESCO Wrangel Islands Reserve has been included in the list of sites considered to be the world heritage of this organization. The plural in the name of this conservation area is not a slip of the tongue. It also included a neighboring island, together with almost 1,430,000 hectares of water area. Ironically, the preservation of the local nature has contributed a lot to the crisis in the late 1990s. Then the majority of residents moved to the mainland, as it was not possible to deliver food and fuel to them. The last inhabitant of the island - Vasilina Alpoun - in 2003, a polar bear was bitten.
For the first time, Russian explorers heard about him in the middle of the seventeenth century. Residents of Chukotka talked about the existence of some amazing island in the waters of the harsh northern ocean. However, on geographical maps, this piece of land appeared after two centuries.
In 1911, Wrangel Island was declared the territory of Russia.And although after this Britain several times attempted to attach this object to its possessions, however, too much distance, a large number of ice hummocks and mother nature itself protected it from the encroachments of foreigners. Since then, it is considered the native Russian northern land.
Where is the reserve "Wrangel Island"
It was created in 1976. In addition to the island itself, it also includes the 12-mile offshore area adjacent to it. Such a large area of this conservation area has one main task: it contributes to the preservation and study of the fauna of almost the entire island part of such a physico-geographical region of the Earth as the Arctic. The reserve “Wrangel Islands”, which is described in this article, is located on a fairly large land area of approximately seven and a half thousand square meters. km Most of this impressive territory is occupied by mountains.
Of course, not everyone knows what nature reserve is located on Wrangel Island, what animals live there, but we hope that this article will help to learn more about this amazing place.Even the simple geographical location of this piece of land is already unique, since it is a watershed between the fairly large waters of the harsh northern ocean. In addition, the island is a kind of natural boundary that separates the Chukchi and East Siberian seas. And along it passes the junction of the Eastern and Western hemispheres of the planet Earth.
The one hundred and eightieth meridian, which is also called the “Date Change Line,” divides this land plot into almost equal parts. It is separated from the coast of Chukotka by at least one hundred forty kilometers of water area. This is the Strait of Long. Administratively, the island is part of the Chukotka Autonomous Region and belongs to the Iultinsky district.
Since 1976, Wrangel Island - Reserve. It is briefly difficult to describe the value of this conservation area and the beauty of this amazing place. Until 2003, people lived on its territory. But after the death of the last permanent resident, only polar scientists can be found here.
The climate of the area in which the reserve “Wrangel Island” is located is quite severe. From February to March, the temperature here is in the range of -30 ° C.Winds accompanying blizzards reach speeds of 40 meters per hour. Even in summer, snowfall and frost can fall on the Wrangel Island reserve. Ice arrays are preserved here almost all year round. The relief of Wrangel Island - the mountains that occupy most of the island. By the sea, they turn into steep cliffs.
Where the coast is more gentle, there are pebble-sand spit. On the island there are more than one and a half thousand streams and almost nine hundred lakes. The herald, which is part of the Wrangel Island reserve, is a tall outcrop that cliffs off the sea in steep rocky ledges.
Flora and fauna
On the question of what animals live in the reserve "Wrangel Island", we can confidently answer: unique. This applies to the majority of the fauna.
The reason lies not only in the exceptional combination of landscape-climatic and historical conditions, but also in the inaccessibility of the island. Here you can even meet relict animals. On the island, which was once part of the ancient land, which in ancient times united two continents - Eurasian and North American - both American and European species of fauna and flora still remained.The main part of the plant world in the Wrangel Island reserve belongs to the arctic tundra subzones. Well, in some places you can see the real polar desert. In the southwest, and in the very center of the island, flowering plants grow surprisingly well. Here you can also find relict steppe open spaces.
The scientist B. Gorodkov, who in 1938 investigated the vegetation cover present on the east coast of this amazing land, mistakenly referred Wrangel Island to the zone of the Arctic desert. But further study of local flora prompted experts to the idea that the entire territory is located in the polar tundra belt. The flora of the reserve "Wrangel Island" is distinguished by its ancient species composition. About three percent of all plants found here are subendemic. These are the dungeon and the poppy Gorodkova, as well as the ostrokolodochnik Wrangel and others. At present, experts are confident that the Wrangel Island reserve in the polar zone has no equal in the number of endemics. In addition to plants that are found only on its territory and nowhere else in the world, more than a hundred very rare species of representatives of the flora grow here.
In total, in these distant lands, scientists have recorded almost five hundred plant species, which is several times higher than the standard indicator of the Arctic tundra. Scientists have been counted on three hundred species of moss and lichen growing in this area. Herbal, shrub and lichen plants occupy the entire main part of the mountain ranges. There are also marshlands and forest plantations, especially in the southern latitudes of the Wrangel Island reserve. The tops of the mountains are mainly a stone mound.
Polar bear island
The harsh climatic conditions of the protected area do not favor particularly large species diversity of animals. Amphibians, reptiles and freshwater fish are not found on the islands at all. But the polar bear in the reserve "Wrangel Island" - the main owner. Not a single photo of this conservation area is without this animal in the foreground. The reserve is an absolute record holder in terms of the density of habitats of these animals. And this is not surprising: on the area of slightly less than 7.5 thousand square meters. km can get along 400 bears. And this figure does not include males and young! Therefore, the ancient Chukchi name of this island - “Umkilir” - is fully justified.In addition, the population of this polar animal increases from year to year.
What animals live in the reserve "Wrangel Island"
In the summer, these distant places are blown from the mainland by butterflies, bumblebees, mosquitoes, and flies. In addition to the white bear, there are also musk oxen and reindeer brought to the reserve “Wrangel Island”. The world of birds is represented by almost forty species. Of the rodents, Vinogradov's lemming is considered endemic. In addition to bears, some other predators are found in the reserve.
Their mammals, in addition to lemmings, deer, are often found ermines, wolverines and arctic foxes. But still the most famous inhabitant of the reserve "Wrangel Island" is rightly considered the owner of the north - the polar bear. A huge number of birth clubs of this clubfoot are arranged here. For a long time, our scientists have been watching the reindeer and musk oxen. These animals brought to this territory for a long time tried to undergo acclimatization. Moreover, domestic reindeer were allowed here on purpose. They are well accustomed, over time, a little wild. Today they are part of the fauna of the reserve "Wrangel Island".The coast of the conservation area is a huge rookery for walruses in the territory, and in the water area itself you can often find gray whales and belugas. It must be said that the walrus rookery here is the largest in Russia.
Quite a large number of birds, including sea birds, chose Wrangel Island as their habitat. The reserve, whose birds are not only stray, but also constantly build nests here, is interesting for researchers primarily such species as eider, sandpipers, white goose, and also black geese. Almost all sea shores are bird markets, consisting of the sand, cormorants and moevok.
Tourism in the reserve "Wrangel Islands" began to develop quite recently. Until recent years, this was primarily hindered by its considerable removal from the mainland. Nevertheless, every year it has become a tradition to visit several tourist groups, which can be found at the cordon "Bay of Doubtful". Most of the travels on the territory of Wrangel Island are carried out on all-terrain vehicles. Some tourists prefer to ride a quad bike or just walk on foot.
Here you can visit Mount Perkantun, which is located in the central part, as well as the Devil's Ravine, where the Paleo-Eskimos parking was located. Many excursion tours also include the Popova, Davydov Lagoons, the Treacherous Lagoon, and the landing site of Canadian settlers at the mouth of the Predator River. When there is not so much ice on the sea, you can take a boat trip along Krasin Bay and Doubtful Bay. When traveling, it is most interesting to contemplate the ecologically clean nature of the North, to observe the behavior of polar wolves, polar bears, arctic foxes, and seabirds in their natural habitat.
Initially, the reserve “Wrangel Islands”, whose objects of protection are numerous, was created to study the ecosystem of arctic island regions. In addition, it was aimed at the preservation of many rare animal or plant species found here, among which there are many endemics. In 2012, another change occurred that was associated with an increase in coastal area. It is interesting that the reserve “Wrangel Island” is the first nature conservation object on the territory of the USSR, in which the indigenous population was allowed to engage in almost all industrial types of activity.
Some lands are of great value to archaeologists. In the mid-nineties of the last century, the Wrangel Island reserve was on the front pages of many scientific journals. The fact is that paleontologists here discovered the remains of mammoths. And the find itself was not surprising, since these large animals once met almost everywhere, but its age. It turns out that on the island of Wrangel, the mammoths were literally three and a half thousand years ago. However, it is known that these elephants, overgrown with a thick woolen layer, died out more than ten thousand years ago. Interestingly, when the Crete-Mycenaean civilization flourished in Greece, and Pharaoh Tutankhamun sat on the throne in Egypt, live mammoths roamed the island of Wrangel! True, in fairness it must be said that the local species was distinguished by a small height: its representatives did not exceed the size of the modern African elephant.