Mystery of Pechora walruses

Photo: Varvara Semenova
Photo: Varvara Semenova

The Atlantic walrus which had been tagged by experts of the Marine Mammals Council with a satellite transmitter at the walrus rookery on the island Vaygach reached the Orange Islands located on the north cape of Novaya Zemlya. 

«For the first time we got confirmed information about the relationship of the Pechora Sea walruses with walruses from the Orange Islands. However, previously it was thought that the Pechora Sea walruses were isolated from the main population of the subspecies and live in that area throughout the year - says Varvara Semenova, coordinator of Marine Mammal Council Walrus program. On pictures made with camera traps installed at the rookery of the island Vaygach it is shown that during the summer the number of animals at the rookery reached about 400 individuals. Also in late August 2014 at the same rookery our team tagged 10 animals with satellite transmitters». Right now most of tagged walruses are in the waters between the islands of Matveev (Nenets Reserve) and Vaygach. This year's work on the study of the Atlantic walrus on Vaygach is carried out with the financial support of "Yamal LNG". 

The results of this year research were reported on September 24 in St. Petersburg, at the meeting of the Expert advisory group on the conservation and study of the Atlantic walrus, established in 2009 at the initiative of the Marine Mammal Council and WWF Russia. 

"The team has brought together leading experts on the Atlantic walrus and representatives of oil and gas companies operating in the region, - says Viktor Nikiforov, Manager of WWF Programs in Russia. - It is encouraging that the administration of Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the territory of which the research takes place shows a lot of interest in our work. At the beginning of the meeting NAO Governor Igor Kashin welcomed members of the group. This year, we were successfully working together with the Okrug to protect the coastal villages from polar bears. I hope that soon joint programs of conservation of the Atlantic walrus will be organized».


Source: Press Service of Marine Mammals Council