Riches of tundra on Wrangel Island

Wrangel island (о́стров Вра́нгеля) in Chukchi sea is among the most remote places on earth. It lays 140 km (87 mi) north of the northern coast of Chukotka (Eastern Russia). The island is tundra covered and during long silent winters, the temperatures plunge to –55°C.

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It is quite possible to walk to Wrangel by foot from the mainland during winter, since the island is locked in ice as well as the coastline of mainland.

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Wrangel is the land with the highest density of polar bears in the world. To reach their hunting grounds they travel hundreds of kilometers and spend most of their time on ice. When spring comes, this ice melts and bears have to settle upon a firm ground. That means either an island or the mainland.

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Wrangel island remains in deep silence during winter but spring times brings life to the tundra. About 150,000 pairs of snow geese comes from Northern America, each year. Beside the geese, about hundred of other bird migratory species find their spring and summer destination here. Their arrival does not go on unnoticed. Polar foxes cleverly use the chance to steal their eggs or even chicks, for later diners. Geese in a great colony manage to defend their nests pretty well, so foxes have to be really clever to catch their reward. However, geese are not out of the trouble if wolf is present.

In May, the sun grows stronger and so the snow melts quickly, leaving many lakes in lowlands and rivers reappear in tundra. At the end of June, summer comes to Russian Arctics, transforming its landscape. More than 400 varieties of wild plants thrive on Wrangel island, twice the number comparable to other Arctics.

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Summer is very short season in the Arctics so the flowers bloom explosively quickly, giving the tundra unimaginable beautiful and colorful ground cover.

Several predators of tundra depend on dominative lemming. These arctic rodents increase their numbers depending on space and food available each year. Predators suffer or thrive accordingly.

Melting of snow can reveal some of the prehistoric artifacts such as Mammoth tusks. By the midsummer, white beluga whales migrate around the island, heading the Bering sea. In autumn, snow geese take their young on a journey back to North Americas and soon after, the silence comes over the tundra and even constantly grazing reindeer and musk oxen lower their activity. After tundra silenced down, temperatures plunged. The nature goes into sleep for a long period of winter.

2013-05-17 16:58:49Z   StanleyKotles       2013-05-18 11:55:17Z   StanleyKotles