ABOUT THE PROJECT EXPEDITIONS PHOTOS MAPS


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There are approximately 100 nature reserves, or zapovedniks, in Russia, covering some 330,000 sq km (~127,400 sq mi), or about 1.4% of the country's total area. Most of these reserves are terrestrial; only few of them have marine areas. Partly this is due to lack of knowledge about marine habitat.
Many whale species inhabit the waters of Far Eastern Russia, but most of them have yet to be studied. The main objective of our project is to define the critical habitat of different whale species in the waters of the Russian Far East. Critical habitat refers to those parts of a cetaceanís range, either a whole species or a particular population of that species, that are essential for day-to-day survival, as well as for maintaining a healthy population growth rate. Areas that are regularly used for feeding (including hunting), breeding (all aspects of courtship) and raising calves, as well as, sometimes, migrating, are part of critical habitat, especially if these areas are regularly used. Critical habitat must also include considerations of where animals are being injured, killed or suffering other impacts; these include being hit by ships, caught accidentally in fishing gear, and being exposed to loud or persistent underwater noise.

Humpback whale



Killer whale



Sperm whale



Baird's beaked whale



Dall's porpoise



Minke whale