"We’ve been being scared witless by walruses attacking our Zodiac, feeling the sense of being hunted as two polar bears followed our scent on the glacier, an iceberg rolling over during a dive, [and] a camera that didn’t survive a polar bear bite."—Paul Rose, Pristine Seas expedition leader

Photograph by Andy Mann

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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 scientific results of the expedition will inform the management and conservation of this Russian Arctic jewel. In addition, National Geographic will produce a documentary film to showcase the natural wonders of Franz Josef Land and the efforts of Russian authorities to preserve this unique area's globally significant biodiversity and historical value.

Read more in National Geographic magazine: Russia’s Franz Josef Land Archipelago

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A World Apart

An underwater paradise in the remote Pacific Ocean will be protected—thanks in part to National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project.

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