Wildlife update

As we were sitting around the fire on the beach, time approaching midnight, one of the lads spotted a large hairy animal strolling lazily across the Tundra within 200 metres of us. It was a Muskox bull. His low set horns and long hairy coat trailing to the ground gave him a prehistoric look. He sat on top of the hill for an hour silhouetted against the sky looking down at us, and eventually took off. He appeared again next morning as we were leaving. We saw two more along the coast.{ Although Paddy reckons it was the same one?? } Muskox was introduced to the Taymyr peninsula in the 1970s and the population has increased to a sustainable level since then.

Polar Bear; One of the greatest thrills of the Arctic has got to be getting close to a Polar [Ice] Bear. Last week as we made our way north along the Taymyr peninsula within 50 Metres of the shore, there he was sitting at the top of the beach, a massive Bear. It was our first sighting of a bear on this trip. All cameras were out within seconds. We were fascinated by his sheer size. We turned the boat towards him and the beach. He slowly walked towards us and sat at the waters edge staring straight at us and started sniffing the air. We didn't dare get any closer. He stood his ground as we sailed off into the distance having had a very rare and special encounter. Since this episode we are very wary of going ashore. We don't have a gun which probably is just as well. We carry flares hopefully to scare them off and stay close to the Boat. This magestic animal must be respected.

Walrus; The very first pod of about 12 Walrus was in the East Siberian Seas as we first approached the ice. Again they were massive and the Bulls are very protective of their harem and at this time of year, big babies. In the last week we have been seeing many more family groups as we go further North.

Other animals include, {Whiter than white} Arctic Fox, Bearded Seals, Beluga and many unidentified Whales, Lemmings etc.

Birds; The most beautiful to me is the Snowy Owl. They sit on high ground in the Tundra {meaning treeless plain}. It is not difficult to get close. Seen also Skuas, Kittiwake, Ivory Gull, Glaucous Gull, Terns, and many more yet to be identified.

The Taymyr peninsula is part of the Great Arctic Nature Reserve set aside to protect the wildlife and way of life of the 8,000 Indigenous people. Long may it live.

M Brogan