30th Anniversary of first German-Soviet Biological Expedition to Taimyr

In summer 1989, within the framework of the Environmental Agreement of the governments of Germany and the Soviet Union (later Russian Federation), a first joint expedition of biologists studying birds along the East-Atlantic Flyway took place to the high Arctic breeding grounds on the Taimyr peninsular. This cooperation of the Institute of Evolutionary Morphology and Ecology of Animals (IEMEA) of the Academy of Science in Moscow and WWF-Germany helped to open doors for other international biological projects in the Siberian Arctic and finally resulted in an official partnership between the “Taimyrsky Zapovednik” (Nature Reserve) and the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park as well as in the establishment the “Great Arctic Zapovednik” on the northern coast of Taimyr.

The 30th anniversary of this pioneering expedition gives reason to look at a proposal for a new national park on Taimyr, which LT&C member and former scientist at the Taimyrsky Zapovednik, Natalia Malygina, who works today as a lecturer and researcher at the Ural Federal University, provided. The national park would connect the Taimyrsky- with the Great Arctic Zapovednik. The initiative would also contribute to secure a complete North-South transect, where in times of climate change, natural habitats and ecosystems could adapt through “migration”.

If a national park, in addition to existing strict protected areas, can be established, it could be of benefit for local people, e.g. in Khatanga, where locals can be involved in the management and guiding of tourism. They would, therefore, develop increasing interests in their protected areas and thereby contribute to safeguarding the wild natures’ future. In addition, tourists would get interested to visit Taimyr if attractive and affordable national park visits and related transportation can be offered. Because of this potential win-win, which can be studied in other parts of the world, a Taimyr national park could become an LT&C Example.

Maybe the upcoming Northern Sustainable Development Forum and its Round Table on “Ecotourism and Protected Areas”, September 24-28 in Yakutsk, could be an ideal platform to further discuss the Taimyr national park initiative.

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