MURMANSK, April 29. /TASS/. During studies at the Pasvik transboundary Nature Reserve, which is located in the Murmansk Region, Norway and Finland, scientists found southern fauna species.
The studies were supported by the Murmansk Region’s Ministry of Ecology, the Russian Fundamental Research Foundation and the Kola MMC (the Kola Mining and Metallurgical Company, a part of Norkickel). The expedition’s results are described in the newly-published Pasvik’s Vertebrate Animals book.
The nature reserve’s Deputy Director Natalia Polikarpova told TASS the book contains information about almost 300 species of big animals, living in Pasvik.
Pasvik’s bats and snakes
The nature reserve’s northern border runs the Pacific Ocean’s sea shores. One of the most interesting newcomers to the Arctic regions is the Northern bat (Eptesicus nilssonii), scientists say.
"It was about ten years ago that a Northern bat was seen there for the first time, and since then nobody has seen them north from the Polar Circle," the deputy director said. "Not so long ago, the locals told us about the bats, and the scientists were lucky to register the fact." The Northern bat is a very rare type of animals, the expert added.
Another surprise for the scientists was to see wood hoopoes and shrikes. "They are very rare, but we have been registering them lately, which means they manage to multiply successfully," she continued.
However, the biggest news is that snakes, including vipers, have moved to the north. A few years earlier, the media wrote they were seen in the Kola Peninsula’s south - near Kandalaksha. Scientists have proofs snakes live also in the region’s northern part. "The snakes are not numerous, it’s not an invasion, but anyway they are there," the deputy director said.
The reasons for the changing fauna are numerous, experts say. While in the past, those were mainly consequences from the growing population, from mining, cutting of woods, fires, growing agricultural areas in the 20th century and degrading agricultural areas in the 21st century, presently the biggest influence comes from the changing climate conditions.
Boundless nature reserve
The Pasvik Nature Reserve was organized in July, 1992. It is home for rare species of flora and fauna, which are in the Russian Red Book and on the IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.
The nature reserve takes part in work of the Russian-Norwegian intergovernmental environmental commission, the Russian-Finnish commission on transboundary waters and an intergovernmental working group on environment, and of the EUROPARC Federation.