- Posted July 28, 2012 by
Team iReport featured this story
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Travel photo of the day
The Ice Bears of Russia
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
Our plan was to travel to the polar ice sheet, take pictures of polar bears on the ice sheet and around the islands of Franz Joseph Land.
Franz Joseph Land is an archipelago located in the far north of Russia. It is found in the Arctic Ocean north of Novaya Zemlya and east of Svalbard, and is administered by Arkhangelsk Oblast. Franz Josef Land consists of 191 ice-covered islands with a total area of 16,134 km2 (6,229 sq mi). It has no native inhabitants, but several settlements have been built by Russian settlers. They rely solely on walrus and seal meat.
At latitudes between 80.0° and 81.9° north, it is the most northerly group of islands associated with Eurasia. The extreme northernmost point is Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island. The archipelago is only 900 to 1,110 km (560 to 690 miles) from the North Pole, and the northernmost islands are closer to the Pole than any other land except for Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland.
The archipelago was possibly first discovered by the Norwegian sealers Nils Fredrik Rønnbeck and Aidijärvi aboard the schooner Spidsbergen in 1865 who, according to scarce reports, sailed eastward from Svalbard until they reached a new land, denoted Nordøst-Spitsbergen. It is not known if they went ashore, and the new islands were soon forgotten.
Attached are photos of some of the polar bears we encountered on our expedition.