The Commander Islands Biosphere Reserve: Results of 2021 and Plans for 2022
30 Mar — 2022
The Commander Islands Biosphere Reserve: Results of 2021 and Plans for 2022

On March 23, the Visitor Center of The CINBR hosted a new meeting of the scientific and technical council devoted to the results of work for 2021 and plans for 2022. The reserve staff reported on the main topics, including research, conservation, tourism, environmental education and territory development.

Numerous scientific studies

Deputy Director of Science Evgeny Mamayev said that in the past year, the reserve conducted studies on 14 programs. Seven of them are accomplished by the scientific staff of the CINBR and the others by specialists of third-party organizations.

Thus, the staff of the reserve continued studies of the ecology of the harbor seal listed in the Red Book of Russia. We took numbers on large haulouts, used satellite tagging, took tissue samples for further studies. In addition, the last field season included studies of landscapes dynamics of Bering Island, as well as monitoring of cetaceans, terrestrial mammals, sea lions, sea otters, passeriformes birds and other animals.

Живоотлов и мечение антуров на острове Топорков

Live catching and tagging of harbor seals on Toporkov Island Photo by Julia Darkova

Dmitry Gimelbrant and Irina Stepanchikova, lichenologists from the V.L. Komarov RAS and St. Petersburg State University continued their work on the islands. Employees of the Botanical Garden-Institute of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences conducted a program to study the liverworts of Bering Island and in a fairly short period spent on the island collected more than 700 samples! 

Дмитрий Гимельбрант

Dmitry Gimelbrant during the collection of samples on Bering Island. Photo by Irina Stepanchikova

In 2021, we continued to monitor the number of reindeer (the estimated number of reindeer on Bering Island is about 2800 individuals). Reindeer counts for several years were used to justify the hunt rate, allowed in early 2022. 

In 2022, it is planned to carry out research work on the territory and water area of the Commander Islands Reserve under 10 programs, including 3 programs for staff members and 7 programs for employees of third-party organizations.

Full-time researchers of the reserve will carry out work on 3 programs: "Study of the current state and features of the ecology of marine mammals of the Commander Islands", "Study of population dynamics, features of biology and measures of protection of birds of the Commander Islands included in the Red Book of Russia" and "Ecology of land mammals of the Commander Islands". 

Record Routes of Protection Department

For 2021, the length of routes of all types of patrols by employees of the Protection Department of the protected area amounted to a record 23,063.7 km.

Of these: foot patrols - 4,414.1 km, patrolling by motor vehicle - 16,573 km and patrolling by water transport - 2,076.6 km. 

Сотрудник отдела охраны заповедной территории во время патрулирования на снегоходах

Employee of Protection Department of the reserve during patrolling on snowmobiles Photo by Mikhail Vakurov

Tourism Department Results

In 2021, the reserve was visited by 327 tourists, 174 of whom arrived on cruise ships. During the tourist season, the reserve conducted 39 excursions, both on land and in sea. We are happy that an increasing number of people are interested in ecological tourism. Guests of the archipelago are interested in the ecology and biology of the animals they meet.

Туристическая группа, прибывшая на исследовательском судне ледового класса «Профессор Хромов»

Tourist group arriving on Professor Chromov, research vessel of ice class.  Photo by Mikhail Vakurov

Environmental Awareness Activities and Projects

In 2021, employees of the reserve carried out many environmental and educational activities, as well as successfully implemented several large projects. Undoubtedly, the most vivid memory and great achievement of 2021 for all of us is the celebration of the 280th anniversary of the Commander Islands discovery. Almost all the employees of the reserve were involved in the preparation and holding of festive events. The high level of the organization was appreciated both by residents of the village of Nikolskoye, and guests of the archipelago, including the governor of Kamchatka Krai V.V. Solodov. 

Празднование 280-летия со дня открытия Командорских островов в селе Никольском

Commemoration of the 280th anniversary of the discovery of the Commander Islands in the village of Nikolskoye

Every Saturday we held classes for children of Nikolskoye village in our Eco-Guest-Room. They included stories about the nature of the Commander Islands, workshops, meetings with scientific staff, excursions and much more. Our team also carried out awareness building classes in school and kindergarten of the village. We need to mention our educational expedition called Solving the Mysteries of Bering Island: Severo-Zapadnoye Rookery, which took place in autumn. Within two days, two shifts of children with the help and under the leadership of employees of the reserve could feel as the real scientists. They learned a lot about the nature of their home island, but also made friends, solving together the tasks set before them! In 2022, an educational expedition will be held in Buyan Bay in June. In addition, cooperation with organizations in Kamchatka is being worked out, and in the future, we think about conducting an expedition for schoolchildren who will come to the Commanders from the peninsula.

Участники первой группы во время эколого-просветительской экспедиции на Северо-Западное лежбище морских млекопитающих

Members of the first group during the expedition to Severo-Zapadnoye Marine Mammal Rookery Photo by Anastasia Rvantsova

Among the environmental and educational projects of 2021is the release of the pocket identifier of lichens of the Commander Islands. The funds for the release were collected with support from people from all corners of our country on the platform. It was also possible to release a pocket identifier for the macroalgae of the archipelago. In addition, in 2021, the CINBR published a wonderful children's book about the childhood of a sea otter and  a collection of methodological recommendations for kindergarten teachers. In 2022, it is planned to continue work in these areas - work is underway to prepare a pocket identifier of local liverworts, a collection of methodological recommendations Harbor Seal for Teachers and much more!

Средства на выпуск карманного определителя лишайников Командорских островов собирали общими усилиями неравнодушных граждан России

Funds for the release of the pocket identifier of the lichens of the Commander Islands were collected by the joint efforts of supportive citizens of Russia Photo by Anastasia Rvantsova

Active work was carried out on the development of the territory

In 2021, the staff of the reserve installed 12 information boards throughout the island. Work will continue in 2022, for example, a large group of boards will be installed in Buyan Bay. Employees and volunteers of the reserve repaired the majority of infrastructure facilities on the territory. They insulated and painted the cabins, repaired facilities in Komandor bay, constructed a new observation deck on Severo-Zapadnoye rookery. With the active assistance of local residents, a memorial site for scientists was built on Severo-Zapadnoye Marine Mammal Rookery, including a monument to Georg Steller by I.P. Vyuev. 2 courtyards were equipped and glamping was built in Buyan Bay. Much work is to be done in 2022 in connection with the planned reconstruction of one of the historical buildings belonging to the reserve, in which it is planned to create a carpentry studio. It is necessary for both the employees of the reserve for work and for household needs of Nikolskoye locals. 

Хозяйственный дворик в бухте Буян

Buyan Bay Courtyard Photo by Anastasia Kuznetsova

Заповедная Россия English

Заповедная Россия English