#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The second expedition of the Narwhal project by Gazpromneft has come to an end. The team investigated the sea unicorns – the narwhals – for three weeks. It is a rare cetacean species with a characteristic tusk.
The narwhal lives in high latitudes – in the waters of the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic. The main places are Franz Josef Land, the waters around the Northern Island of Novaya Zemlya and Spitsbergen, the Canadian archipelago and the shores of Greenland.
The body length of an adult narwhal usually reaches 3.8–4.5 meters. Males weigh up to 2-3 tons, females weigh about 900 kilograms. The animals are listed in the Red Book.
Scientists studied groups of mammals with calves, as well as mixed flocks of narwhals and belugas. They were found in the area of the Franz Josef Land archipelago. According to preliminary conclusions, narwhals are seasonal inhabitants of this water area, but it is in the Russian Arctic that the population is reproducing.
“The terms of scientific field work in the water area of Franz Josef Land were extremely tight. Nevertheless, we managed to meet animals in the same place as in 2019, near Jackson Island. The prompt decision to continue looking for narwhals in the Northbrook Islands proved correct. Narwhals, beluga whales, walruses, polar bears, and bowhead whales were encountered in the bays of the southern tip of Georg Land and in the strait between Georg Land and the Mabel and Bell Islands. We carried out measurements, collected as much material as possible. There is a lot of processing of observations ahead and the confidence that research should be continued”, said Olga Shpak, the head of the expedition, candidate of Biological Sciences, an employee of the Russian Academy of Sciences’s Evolution Ecology Institute.
The data will be included in the general program for the species and its habitat protection.
The expedition was attended by professional photographers and videographers. The filmed materials will be included in a large-scale educational project about the high-latitude Arctic, the official platform of which is the narwhal.ru portal and the Instagram account of the same name.
Text: Angelica Stepanova, Photo: gazprom-neft.ru