Scientists conducted a study of the walrus population in the Tiutei-Yakhinsky Nature Reserve in Yamal

Scientists conducted a study of the walrus population in the Tiutei-Yakhinsky Nature Reserve in Yamal

Source: Alexander Sokolov,
A group of scientists has completed field studies of a large population of walruses that annually come to Cape Tiutei-Sale in Yamal. The population includes up to five thousand individuals, as in previous years it is mixed: there are males and females, and this year there are more cubs. Such groups of different sexes and ages are rare. A recent expedition in the area of the Tiutei-Yakhinsky Nature Reserve lasted 12 days. This was reported by the portal of the government of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YANAO).

"For the first time, scientists managed to put 15 satellite transmitters at once. This is a record for the time of observations and twice as much as last year. With their help, experts are already getting information about the movements of marine mammals.

Scientists state the positive effect of the creation of a nature conservation area. Walruses began to come out to the left bank of the Tiutei-Yakha River: now it has become quieter there, because people's access is limited," the report says.

In the course of field work, Andrey Boltunov, General Director of the Marine Mammal Research Expedition Center, Alexander Sokolov, senior researcher at the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Maxim Tolstoy, a leading engineer at the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, took 30 genetic samples from walruses for research.

Experts have recorded that a group of walruses comes to the rookery annually, the structure of the herd is similar in different years. The first data on the movements of walruses in the pre-winter period and the toxicological composition of their tissues, which reflects the features of spatial distribution, were also obtained.

"Genetic analysis revealed partial isolation of Yamal walruses from their relatives in other parts of the range," the report says.

As part of the pilot project, all historical information about the Yamal walruses for a period of one and a half thousand years has also been collected and systematized.

"A three-year pilot scientific project to study the rookery has been completed. The data obtained this year will be analyzed by scientists. The experts will present the final report by April next year," the Government of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District noted.

In addition, the scientific group has developed a new five-year project to continue research, which, according to experts, should be interdisciplinary, using new methods.

"For example, scientists plan to study the food supply, try new ways of tagging. This will allow us to learn even more about the walruses of the Kara Sea, conduct nature conservation activities scientifically and maintain a balance of industrial development and careful attitude to the fragile nature of the Arctic," the portal reports.

For the first time, the walrus rookery was discovered in the fall of 2019, and already in 2020, Arctic volunteers cleared the bank of the Tiutei-Yakha River - took out dozens of tons of garbage from the weather station that existed here earlier. In 2021, with the support of the Government of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District and Gazprom, a pilot scientific project was initiated. And in May of this year, a specially protected natural area was created in the Tiutei-Yakhi area.

The area of the reserve "Tiutei-Yakhinsky" is 10 thousand hectares. Its conservation status allows you to limit economic activity near the rookery and protect Atlantic walruses.
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