East Siberian Sea (West)
Chukchi Sea (East)
|Geographical location||71 ° 14 ′ N , 179 ° 25 ′ W|
|surface||7th 608 km²|
The Wrangel Island ( Russian Остров Врангеля - Ostrow Wrangelja ) is a Russian island in the Arctic Ocean . In the east it borders on the Chukchi Sea , in the west on the East Siberian Sea . It belongs to the Iultin Rajon in the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug .
In 2004, its landscape was declared the northernmost world natural heritage site by UNESCO and included in the list of world cultural and natural heritage of mankind . The "Wrangel Island Nature Reserve" has existed since 1976.
The island is about 7608 km². The nature reserve also includes a few small offshore islands and the approximately 65 km northeast of the island of Herald, which is only 11 km² in size . Wrangel Island is the dividing point between the East Siberian Sea bordering to the west and the Chukchi Sea to the east (which leads to the Bering Strait ); To the south, the Long Strait separates the island from the Asian mainland, about 150 km away, and thus from Eastern Siberia .
Although its mountains rise up to 1096 m above sea level (Herald Island up to 372 m) and Wrangel Island is completely enclosed by drift ice floes in winter , the country is not glaciated. However, the island, which is about 500 to 600 km beyond the Arctic Circle and about 2000 km from the North Pole , is not only covered by a thick blanket of snow during the polar night of winter . The polar pack ice border to the north is usually only around 100 to 200 km away in this area. Therefore, it happens that the Wrangel Island is difficult to reach even in summer when it is surrounded by thick drift ice floes.
The island is about 150 km long in east-west direction and up to 80 km wide in north-south direction.
Fossil finds show that on Wrangel Island until around 1700 BC The mammoth was at home, namely the dwarf, shaggy woolly mammoth . The island, which was connected to the Northeast Asian mainland until about 12,000 years ago due to the lower sea level, was one of the last retreats for the woolly mammoth during the Holocene .
In 1823, while mapping the north coast of Eastern Siberia , Ferdinand von Wrangel suspected the existence of an as yet undiscovered island in the Arctic Ocean , after he had observed flocks of birds flying further out into the Arctic Ocean. The local Chukchi confirmed this, and Wrangel marked the island on his map as "mountains, visible from Cape Jakan in clear summer weather". In search of the missing Franklin expedition , Henry Kellett sighted the island from Herald Island in 1849 and named it "Plover Island" after his ship. In 1867 the American whaler Thomas Long drew the south coast of the island into the map and named it "Wrangell's Land". The claim made by Eduard Dallmann in 1880 that he had set foot on the island in 1866 was not recognized. On August 12, 1881, Wrangel Island was first entered by Captain Calvin L. Hooper. He hoisted the flag of the United States and named the island New Columbia . But the name didn't catch on.
In 1911, the crew of the Russian icebreaker Waigatsch , who called on the island as part of the hydrographic expedition of the Northern Arctic Sea , set up a small sea mark at the south-western cape.
In January 1914, the Karluk , the flagship of the Canadian Arctic Expedition under Vilhjálmur Stefánsson , sank after a five-month drift through the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. 14 men, two women and a child were saved on Wrangel Island. While Captain Robert Bartlett (1875-1946) marched to the mainland with the Eskimo hunter Kataktovik to organize aid, three men died on the island before the merchant ship King and Winge picked up the survivors on September 7th.
In order to secure the possession of the island to the British Empire , to which Canada belonged as Dominion , Stefánsson initiated an unsuccessful settlement attempt in 1921. On September 16, the Canadian Allan R. Crawford and the three Americans Frederick W. Maurer (1893–1923), Milton Galle (1902–1923) and Errol Lorne Knight (1893–1923) were married to the Eskimo woman Ada Blackjack ( 1898–1983) deposited on Wrangel Island. A supply ship sent by Stefánsson in 1922 had to return to Nome due to unfavorable ice conditions . On January 28, 1923, Crawford, Mason and Galle left the island to attempt to reach mainland Siberia on foot. They have been missing since then. The knight who stayed behind fell ill with scurvy and died on June 22nd. On August 19, 1923, the Donaldson reached Wrangel Island and took Ada Blackjack as the only survivor on board. The American Charles H. Wells stayed on the island with twelve Eskimos. In 1924 Stefánsson sold his supposed rights to Wrangel Island to Carl J. Lomen (1880–1965), who owned 40,000 reindeer in Alaska . A Soviet gunboat under the command of Boris Dawydow (1884-1925) reached the island in August 1924 and brought the settlers around Wells to Vladivostok .
Under the direction of geographer Georgi Uschakow , the settlement named after him Uschakowskoje was built on the south coast of the island in 1926. This was intended to indicate that the island belonged to the Soviet Union after the various attempts at appropriation through permanent presence. As wage workers in a sovkhoz , the residents of Ushakovskoye caught arctic foxes and traded in polar bear skins , walrus tusks and other prey. A radio station was added a year later. Initially 60 people lived on the island: ten Eskimo families from the area of Prowidenija , Chukchi hunters with their families as well as Ushakov with his wife and a doctor with his wife. In the 1990s, the population was put at 100. There are currently no permanent residents.
Flora and fauna
The landscape on Wrangel Island is dominated exclusively by the arctic tundra ; in the high areas there are bare frost debris deserts . The northern part of the island is occupied by a lowland that is swampy in summer and even has a small river flowing through it. In the warm season, which lasts only a few weeks, several streams tumble from the mountain slopes. Because of the permafrost and the low water content in the soil, tall plants such as trees cannot develop. Therefore lichens , mosses , poppies and ferns predominate. The flora is very rich in species compared to other arctic regions. With 417 plant species, twice as many species live here as on comparable areas and more than on any other Arctic island. Most of these plants that thrive on the mountain slopes are only a few inches tall.
The last mammoths died on Wrangel Island around 1700 BC. BC (further details range from 5700 to 1500 BC), about 6000 years later than in the rest of Eurasia.
Live on Wrangel Island a. Polar bears , walruses , ringed seals , bearded seals , arctic foxes and collar lemmings . Reindeer and musk ox were successfully introduced in the 1950s and 1970s, respectively. The species-rich bird world (especially sea birds ) includes the eider , the snow goose , the cormorant , the brent goose , the turnstone and the pygmy snow geese . BirdLife International therefore designates the Wrangel Island and the Herald Island as an Important Bird Area (RU3082).
Since 1976, Wrangel Island and Herald Island have been under strict nature protection as Sapowednik . The Soviet zoologist Sawwa Uspenski (1920–1996), chairman of the international working group for the protection of polar bears, played a key role in its creation .
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Wrangel Island
- ↑ UNESCO World Heritage Center: Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve. Retrieved September 30, 2017 (English).
- ^ Ferdinand von Wrangel: Eismeer and Tundra . FA Brockhaus, Leipzig 1950, p. 198 f .
- ↑ William Willder Wheildon: The New Arctic Continent, or Wrangell's Land . Salem, Massachusetts 1868.
- ^ Leonid Breitfuss : The north polar region: Its nature, meaning and research . Springer-Verlag, Berlin 1943, p. 117.
- ^ William James Mills: Exploring Polar Frontiers - A Historical Encyclopedia . tape 1 . ABC-CLIO, 2003, ISBN 1-57607-422-6 , pp. 67–69 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
- ^ Vilhjálmur Stefánsson: The Adventure of Wrangel Island . Jonathan Cape, London 1926.
- ↑ William Barr: Ushakov, Georgiy . In: Mark Nuttall (Ed.): Encyclopedia of the Arctic . tape 3 . Routledge, New York and London 2003, ISBN 1-57958-436-5 , pp. 2112 f . (English, limited preview in Google Book Search).
- ↑ David L. Fox, Daniel C. Fisher, Sergey Vartanyan, Alexei N. Tikhonov, Dick Mol, Bernard Buigues: Paleoclimatic implications of oxygen isotopic variation in late Pleistocene and Holocene tusks of Mammuthus primigenius from northern Eurasia. Quaternary International 169-170, 2007, pp. 154-165
- ↑ a b Wrangel Island Zapovednik on the "Wild Russia" website, accessed on March 4, 2020 (English).
- ↑ Wrangel and Herald Islands on the BirdLife International website, accessed March 4, 2020
- ↑ Helmut Höge: The Wrangel Island . In: Junge Welt , March 3, 2020, p. 10.