WALRUSES ARE NOW BEING MONITORED FROM SPACE
In 2012, WWF-Russia and Scanex became pioneers in the field of satellite monitoring of animals – in that year the main walrus haul-outs were pictured by satellites throughout the Russian Arctic. Today it is possible to work with images from open sources and detect large concentrations of walruses promptly using free resources. It is especially important to obtain information about northern walrus groups in a hard-to-reach places where satellite monitoring sometimes remains the only source of information.
The project for satellite observation of walruses on the Oranskie Islands began on 1 July and will run until October. In the summer, high school students from different cities of Russia joined the project. The interregional team of students under the “RiskSat”company guidance do satellite monitoring on the islands. The project participants observed the dynamic of the rookery, estimated the size and number of walruses. The students processed the received pictures and transferred the information to the scientists.
Thanks to the data obtained, it is already possible to tell how the Atlantic walruses spent this summer. By early July, the Bolshoi Oranskiy Vostochny Island had already been free from snow and ice. And on July 19, the first landfall of walruses was captured. And then, the formation of a rookery was noted in the second half of July. Observation of the Atlantic walrus northern group will continue and the data obtained will help to get more accurate information on the number of the species in the Russian Arctic.