A nature reserve to protect the Yakut population of polar bear is planned to be created in Yakutia until 2020 in the archipelago of the Medvezhyi Islands (Bear Islands) in the East Siberian Sea.
“It is planned to create a nature reserve on the basis of a resource reserve of regional importance, 'Bear Islands', or will be offered an alternative form. This will improve the conservation status and protect the Yakut population of polar bears on the coast of the East Siberian Sea," Sakhamin Afanasiev, Minister of Ecology, Nature Management and Forestry of the region, told the news agency.
Afanasiev reminded that the state of the polar bear population in the Nizhnekolymsky and Allaikhovsky districts has been regularly monitored since 2005, and since 2008 WWF Russia has connected Yakutia to the Bear Patrol project and provides support in field studies. “We intend to continue this work,” the minister stressed.
Bear Islands are one of the main places of formation of maternity dens of polar bears in Yakutia. “Against the background of the ongoing climate change in the Arctic, there bears annually make lairs for parturition. The number of she-bears under favorable conditions can reach dozens. Regular combination of monitoring work with patrolling the habitat of polar bears has an important role in preventing poaching, and also gives an opportunity to provide timely assistance to animals in distress,” said Afanasiev.
Bear Islands is a group of six islands in the Arctic Ocean. Part of Yakutia. Located in the East Siberian Sea, north of the mouth of the Kolyma River. The total area of the islands is about 60 square kilometers.