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Премия рунета 2017

Weather station on Vaigach Island prepared for polar bear encounters

09 october 2018
Thanks to WWF Russia support Fedorov meteorological station on Vaigach Island has been equipped to protect people from polar bear encounters.
Four specialists constantly live and work on the marine meteorological station named after E.К. Fedorov (MG-2). Here on the northern tip of Vaigach Island between the Kara and Barents Seas one of the migration routes of polar bears passes. Predators quite often become uninvited guests of polar explorers. So, in August and September this year, bears visited the station almost every day, sometimes single animals, often females with cubs.

Polar bears at Vaigach meteostation, September 2018.

Luckily, neither people nor bears were injured after the encounters. However, such “visits” significantly complicate the work of specialists: sometimes the station employees were literally under siege and were afraid to go outside for several days.
“Prevention of "human - polar bear" conflicts is one of the most important areas of our work,” comments Oleg Sutkaitis, Director of the Barents Branch of WWF Russia. - It is obvious that due to the climate change and the reduction of ice cover in the Arctic, in the future predators will increasingly come to people. I hope that our project will help to minimize the negative consequences of such encounters.”
“Vaigach meteostation remains very attractive for polar bears,” agrees Roman Ershov, the Head of the Northern Hydrometeorological Service (FGBU Severnoe UGMS). - The we are taking together with the WWF at this station should show effectiveness in terms of protecting the polar bears and the safety of the station workers. In the future, we plan to apply this experience on other polar moniyoting stations. ”

WWF grant, provided to the Northern Hydromet Service, allowed to equip the building of the weather station. Durable bars are installed on all the windows so that a particularly curious bear could not get inside. Spotlights and video surveillance system were installed along the perimeter. Thus, people can monitor the entire area around the station and, going out into the street, may not be afraid of a sudden attack.
Alexey Abramchuk / WWF Russia
"The equipment is good, let's see how it will show in the future,” says the meteorologist Alexey Abramchuk. - I would like to thank WWF Russia team. It has become much more comfortable for us to work, we can go out not fearing to run into a bear."
First bear spotted
Alexey Abramchuk / WWF Russia
The system already gives the first results: immediately after installation, the camera spotted a polar bear, which stood right at the entrance to the building. Meteorologists are sure that this animal is not the last "uninvited guest" at the station - the long winter is coming.
For additional information please contact
Head of barents ecoregional programme
Press officer of the Barents projectBarents sea ecoregional programme