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Nature reserve established on Kolguev Island

27 june 2019
The Kolguevsky State Nature Reserve has been created on the territory of Kolguev Island, in the Barents Sea. It will help protect ecosystems of the island, biodiversity, rare bird and mammal species that are unique to the Arctic.

The territory of the reserve is located in the western, central and eastern parts of the Kolguev Island on an area of ​​186 thousand hectares. Now, about half of the island will be under state protection. The creation of the reserve was preceded by tremendous work on surveying the island’s territory, determining the flora and fauna, describing its borders, and obtaining approvals from the federal executive bodies. The package of documents was prepared by scientists and representatives of indigenous people together with experts from WWF-Russia Barents office.

Oleg Sutkaitis, Director of the Barents Office, WWF-Russia: “Kolguev is the pearl of the Russian Arctic. Creation of the nature reserve on the island is a great victory. This is an important step in preserving such a vulnerable nature - biodiversity and flora. Thanks to everyone who participated in this work! ”

Kolguev Island is a nesting site for red-listed birds of Russia. The territory is the most important migratory site for waterfowl in spring and autumn.

“To maintain the population size, it is important to keep this territory intact, pristine, to reduce disturbance during the nesting period,” says Andrey Vokuev, representative of the Department of Natural Resources, Ecology and Agro-Industrial Complex of the Nenets District. “The island supports about a third of the European population of the white-fronted goose, Tundra bean goose and White-necked Goose. The high numbers of geese on the island is like nowhere else in the Arctic. ”

Since 2011, the famous Nenets public figure and traveler Philip Ardeev, a native of Kolguev Island, has been collecting information about the cultural and natural heritage of this corner of Russia. These materials formed the basis for the creation of a regional reserve. Unfortunately Philip did not live to translate his ideas into reality. His work was continued by his wife Angelina Ardeeva. According to the data collected by Philip Ardeev, a map with the sacred sites of the Nenets people and all the historical places of Kolguev Island was created.

Angelina Ardeeva, author of the Kolguevsky nature reserve project: “The regional reserve was created with the participation of the residents of the Bugrino village, and it is based on a guarantee of preserving their way of life and reindeer herding. At present, all the proposals that have been made to the project by the residents of the village of Bugrino are already being implemented on the island.”

The special protection regime of the reserve has introduced a number of prohibitions, in particular, the construction of buildings, structures, mining, commercial, sport and amateur hunting, as well as collecting of fluff and bird eggs. The indigenous population of the island will have the right for the activities that are vital for their existence - reindeer herding, hunting, fishing, gathering wild plants.

© Sergey Uvarov / WWF Russia
For additional information please contact
Press officer of Barents ecoregional programme
Head of Barents Ecoregional Program