Kronotsky Nature Reserve and FEROP have completed an expedition dedicated to marine mammals

Kronotsky Nature Reserve and FEROP have completed an expedition dedicated to marine mammals.


In July 2022, another expedition to study marine mammals, organized by the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, was successfully completed. Employees of the reserve together with biologists from FEROP (Far East Russia Orca Project) examined the Shipunsky Peninsula coastal waters. The expedition was meant to collect data on significance of the studied area for marine mammals.

Studies of the Shipunsky Peninsula coastal waters are important, since creation of the Vostochno-Kamchatsky nature reserve has been planned there in the upcoming years. The future protected area is of particular importance for conservation of populations of some extinct marine mammals such as sea lion, sea otter, antur, carnivorous orca, humpback whale. However, relatively little is known about the state of the populations of these species in the area, since their condition is not monitored.

Researcher of the Kronotsky Reserve Evgenia Volkova told: "The most complete data exist on the condition of the sea lion population. One of the extinct reproductive rookeries was located near the Shipunsky Peninsula, the last puppies were recorded here in 2002. Today, the only reproductive rookery of the three previously existing off the coast of Kamchatka has been preserved on the Kozlov stone, in the Kronotsky Reserve. Only about 100 puppies are born here every year for the entire Kamchatka Peninsula."

During the expedition, a sea otter was recorded, some anturs were noted, and the shooting of sea lion rookeries was carried out to assess the number of animals on them.

"I hope that the research here will continue in the future. This area is very interesting from a scientific point of view, and regular monitoring is especially important due to the increasing anthropogenic load," Volkova added.

In addition, the researchers paid special attention to orcas of both carnivorous and fish-eating ecotypes who are regularly observed in the peninsula area.

"It is very interesting to find out how different orca families use the waters of eastern Kamchatka – this requires research in different areas along the coast. The FEROP has been working in the Avacha Bay for many years, and I hope that observations will now be carried out regularly in the Shipunsky area. In addition, comparing the behavior of animals at Shipunsky, where the presence of people is minimal, and in Avacha Bay, where tourism is actively developing, it is possible to study the impact of recreational load and give recommendations on how to reduce animal anxiety," Evgenia Volkova concluded.