Wrangel Island (Arctic Russia)

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Wrangel Island is a Russian island located in the Arctic Ocean (between the Chukchi Sea and the East Siberian Sea). The closest land is Herald Island - approx 60 km (37 mi) to the east. The distance to mainland Russia is 140 km (87 mi). Most of Wrangel and Herald Islands is federally protected nature reserve.

Cruise ships to Wrangel Island dock/anchor at either Ushakova Cape (Ushakovskoye), Krasin Bay, Cape Waring, Cape Florens, or Cape Blossom.

In 1976 was established the Wrangel Island Nature Preserve (consisting of the island and its surrounding waters out to 45 km / 28 ml). The "nature reserve" ("zapovednik" in Russian) classification is the country's highest level of protection and also excludes any human activities other than for scientific purposes.

The island is inhabited by only 4 rangers (residing on it the whole year-round) and during summer is visited by a core group of Russian scientists conducting research. There is a weather station and 2 former fishing settlements (Ushakovskoye, Zvyozdny). In 2004, Wrangel and Herald Islands and their surrounding waters were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 2014, Russia announced plans to built a naval base on Wrangel Island, consisting of all 68 prefabricated modules.

The island covers a total area of 7600 km2 (2900 ml2) and consists of southern and northern coastal plains and central mountains (Tsentral' nye Mountain Range). The highest elevation point (Sovetskaya Mountain) 1096 m (3596 ft) above sea level. The island is a breeding ground for polar bears, Arctic foxes, wolves, seals, walrus, lemmings. During summer is visited by seabirds, bowhead whales, gray whales. The flora on the island includes a total of 417 plants - more than on any other Arctic island.


Woolly mammoths (extinct species) survived here until 2000 BC, which is the most recent survival of mammoth populations known to man. Isolated from mainland Asia, around 1000 animals lived on the island for nearly 6000 years.

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