The scientists from the Russian Arctic National Park on the Mechanic Yartsev vessel studied the soil and mammals on the Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land archipelagoes. According to the park director Alexander Kirilov, the expedition primarily observed marine mammals and avifauna.
“On the island of Hayes, soil samples were taken in places where work was carried out to eliminate environmental damage of the past years for oil pollution”, said Alexander Kirilov.
To continue the restoration of the oldest wooden aircraft hangar in the Arctic, the expedition delivered materials to Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island. The hangar was built in 1932 and abandoned in 1960. Last year, experts cleared it of ice. Due to the pandemic, the work that had been planned to be carried out this year was postponed to the next season. In 2021, specialists will begin the interior arrangement of the hangar and the exposition installation.
On Hayes Island, scientists examined all the objects of the former Ernst Krenkel polar geophysical observatory, which was opened in 1957 and designed for 200 people. The station was mothballed after a fire in 2001. A new living module for meteorologists was built in 2004. Now the station employs six people.
In addition, the team took soil samples as part of the Clean Arctic project, which is supported by Rosneft. The samples are examined for the content of microorganisms and oil products.
The cleaning of Franz Josef Land has been carried out since 2012. In five years more than 45 thousand tons of garbage have been removed from there. It is estimated that the completion rate is approximately 89 percent.
Clean-ups are almost done on Alexandra, Hooker, Hayes and Graham Bell Islands. After cleaning, the contaminated lands were reclaimed, but the oil polluted places remained as a lot of fuel had been brought to the islands. It is necessary to carry out the work on the islands of Rudolf and Hoffmann.
Cleanup work on Hayes Island has been ongoing since 2014. Three years ago, specialists made a survey from a quadcopter to assess the state of the terrain. This year the aerial photography was also carried out, its results will be compared with those obtained earlier.
The expedition delivered equipment and materials to arrange ecological trails and create a tourist visitor center on the Novaya Zemlya’s Severny island.
Operator Maxim Pervakov has remained at Cape Zhelaniya until the end of the season. During the expedition, the Bear’s Corner – film about the national park – shooting began. The grant for it was received from the Russian Geographical Society. Atlantic walruses and several encounters with polar bears have already been filmed.
“It can be seen on the footage that the bear is not at all worried, lying calm, licking its paw, does not pay attention to the drone”, said Alexander Kirilov.
The specialists from the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences will arrive at Cape Zhelaniya to study polar bears.
Text: Mikhail Tuaev, Photo: open sources