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Medvedev signs decree on enlarging Russian Arctic National Park

MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS/ Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a draft decree according to which the Russian Arctic National Park’s territory will be expanded by 7.4 mln hectares, the press service of Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology announced on Friday.

The Franz Josef Land archipelago and some sea areas will be included in the national park so its territory will reach 8.8 mln hectares making it the largest protected natural reserve in Russia. Apart from that, it is also the biggest terrestrial national park and the country’s leading natural sea reserve.

The expansion of the national park will contribute to the preservation of rare Arctic animals and birds that are on Russia’s and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, such as: the Atlantic walrus, the great polar whale, the polar bear, the narwhal and the ivory gull.

The Russian Arctic National Park was founded in June 2009. It is the northernmost protected area is in Eurasia. Located in the western part of Russian Arctic territories, this is a unique place where the largest birds’ colonies and seals’ rookeries in the Northern Hemisphere can be found. Polar bears, great polar whales and some other species included in Russian and International Red Lists inhabit the area.

Some historic sites concerning the opening-up of Arctic are preserved in the national park, these include the camp of Dutch mariner Willem Barentsz who discovered these lands for the Europeans, and the camps of Russian Pomor settlers who had travelled there long before Barentsz.