Photograph by Andy Mann
In July-August 2013, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala led a Pristine Seas expedition to Franz Josef Land in collaboration with Russkaya Arktika National Park, the Russian Geographical Society, and National Geographic. An international group of scientists and filmmakers assessed how pristine the ocean-land ecosystem is and compared its current state with historical scientific baselines and photographs obtained by explorers in the late 1800s.
The expedition team found near pristine terrestrial and underwater environments with abundant large predators, and captured the first, deep-sea video of the rare Greenland shark. In August 2016, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced the expansion of the Russian Arctic National Park by 74,000 square kilometers to include the Franz Josef Land archipelago. This expansion creates not only the largest protected area in Russia, but also the largest marine reserve in the Arctic, at a total of 88,000 square kilometers.
Read more in National Geographic magazine: Russia’s Franz Josef Land Archipelago
- Top 10 Ocean Conservation Victories of 2016
- Close Encounter with a Polar Bear
- Franz Josef Land Expedition: Amazing Facts
- Franz Josef Land Expedition: First Look at Post-Expedition Discoveries
- Franz Josef Land Expedition: Surviving the Life Aquatic
- Franz Josef Land Expedition: What We’ve Accomplished So Far
- Franz Josef Land Expedition: …And Then There Was This Other Iceberg
- Franz Josef Land Expedition: Visions Above and Below the Icy Waves
- Franz Josef Land Expedition: The Underwater Colors of the Arctic
- Franz Josef Land Expedition: Camaraderie, Collaboration, and New Discoveries
Support Our Work
Join the cause by donating or signing up for our newsletter with regular updates from the field.GET INVOLVED