Wrangel Island is no venue for a beach holiday, not if you want to survive anyway. Nippy would be the mother of all understatements. Wrangel Island sits, shimmering in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea, astride the 180° meridian. Here’s where this desolate land lies:
Wrangel and its neighbour Herald Island are both pretty much entirely designated as nature reserves and are thought to have been the last places on earth that mammoths strode around. I say earth, but we could probably just as easily say universe. Mammoths probably survived there up until 2000 BC – they were probably knocking about whilst the pyramids were being built. Scientists presume the Wrangel Island climate warmed up for a while allowing humans to visit more frequently to hunt and kill them off. Shame.
Here’s a photo collection of images taken on the island. They’re beautiful so I’m sharing. I’m nice like that:
The only human residents that live on this 5000 mile long island year round are 4 rangers and about 12 scientists.
The climate, as you might guess, is very cold and very dry. Average yearly temperatures are between -7 and -13°C and records have seen it drop to as low as -57.7°C which is just a little on the chilly side.
These are musk ox either having a chat or getting ready for battle, it’s not clear which way this interaction is going to go. They certainly can’t be arguing over space can they?
Dinner time for the arctic fox.
MORE RUSSIAN WILDLIFE: KAMCHATKA WILDLIFE PHOTOS
Wrangel Island is home to thousands of rivers and hundreds of lakes, making it a nice place to be if you’re an animal. Have you ever seen an owl having a swim? Was it an error? Or was he just in need of a wash? Here’s video footage of an owl swimming if you’d like more of this sort of thing.
This polar bear looks miffed. I’d give him a wide birth if I were you.
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It looks like an amazing place, but you wouldn’t want to be marooned.