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Vladimir Putin has visited the Franz Josef Land archipelago, where he was briefed on the work of a research expedition studying polar bears that was organized by the Severtsov Institute for Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Assisted by the researchers, the prime minister put a satellite collar on a polar bear and shook the paw of the “master of the Arctic.”
Researchers told the prime minister that this was Russia’s first experiment on using satellite transmitters for observing polar bears.
The program is funded by the Russian Geographical Society and envisages preserving and restoring the polar bears’ population. Researchers will gather information on the animals’ habitat, their movements and population as well as on the factors that have an adverse impact on the bears.
Vladimir Putin emphasized that the Franz Josef Land alone had almost 60,000 tons of fuels and lubricants, some of which spill and pollute the environment. He called for a general clean-up of the Arctic. The prime minister added that other countries that have their interests in the region should also join the clean-up.