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Kamchatka-Okhotsk Sea

Established: 1993
Area: 3,648,679 ha (36,648 km2)
Buffer Zone:  2,177,398 ha (21,773 km2)

Pavlov, Nikolay Nikolayevich, Director

Prospekt Karla Marksa 29/1 Office 213, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Russia 683006

Tel: +7 (415-47) 5-24-25


Northern fulmar

© 2005 Yuri Artukhin

Komandorsky Zapovednik, in the Kamchatka Province of the northern Russian Far East, was created in 1993 to protect the diverse ecosystems of the Commander Islands and the surrounding marine waters of the Bering Sea and northern Pacific Ocean . The islands come alive in the summer months, when the din of coastal rookeries and seabird colonies rises high above the damp, foggy air. On the islands’ sandy, windswept shores, more than 200,000 northern fur seals gather to breed. On this prime, beachfront property, the fur seals are quite often joined by Steller sea lions. For nearly a million seabirds, the reserve is an important refuge, where they breed in huge colonies along coastal cliffs. Komandorsky Zapovednik’s vast, and uniquely intact 30-mile-wide marine zone, in which commercial fishing has been prohibited since 1958, provides important habitat to 21 whale species. In tundra-blanketed interior sections of the reserve, two rare sub-populations of Arctic fox can be found. In addition to ensuring the conservation of the islands’ natural complexes, the zapovednik, which was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2002, also helps foster ecologically and culturally sustainable development for the local community of Nikolskoye.






Articles featuring this nature reserve in Russian Conservation News journal:


Images of Komandorsky Zapovednik

Click on each photo to see a large version.

Bering Island

© 2005 Tom Van Pelt

Interesting rock formations line the coast of Bering Island.


Arctic fox

© 2005 Yuri Artukhin

There are two endemic subpopulations of Arctic fox on the islands of Komandorsky.


Fedoskina River

© 2005 Nikolay Pavlov

Fedoskina River is one of many waterways on Bering and Medny islands.


Turfted puffins

© 2005 Yuri Artukhin

Tufted puffins nest on coastal areas in mixed colonies.


Red-legged kittiwake

© 2005 Yuri Artukhin

The red-legged kittiwake nests in only three other places in the world.



Table Mountains

© 2005 Nikolay Pavlov

Stolovy Gory - or Table Mountains - are found on Bering Island.


Bering Island

© 2005 Yuri Artukhin

The mountains of Bering Island rise dramatically from the sea.


Humpback whale

© 2005 Yuri Artukhin

The humpback whale is one of 21 species of whales that migrate through the reserve.


Komandorsky Zapovednik Facts:

AnimalsVegetationGeographical FeaturesConservation StatusReferences


Komandorsky Zapovednik protects marine and coastal habitat that is crucially important to numerous marine mammals, many of them rare and endangered. The Commander Islands are home to one of Russia ’s three breeding colonies of northern fur seals ( Callorhinus ursinus). These eared seals gather on the islands in four large rookeries—two on Bering Island (at Capes Severnyi and Severo-Zapadnyi, on the north and northwestern tips of the island, respectively); and two on Mednyi Island (at Cape Yugo-Vostochnyi , at the island’s southeastern tip, and along the southeastern shore of the island by Cape Palata .) The fur seals generally appear on the island in late April, having made their way from their places of hibernation near the islands of Japan , and remain to breed, nurse, and feed through November. Male fur seals establish and defend territories along the sandy shore; these plots, which can reach up to 25 square meters in size, accommodate harems of as many as 100 female fur seals. In total, the Commander Islands population of northern fur seals is estimated to range between 200,000 and 220,000 individuals.

A population of approximately 5,000 Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), also gathers on the Commander Islands to breed. Most often found on Mednyi Island , the sea lions are known to occupy the same territory as northern fur seals, although they generally tend to settle further away from the sea shore. This largest member of the eared seal family is listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation and is considered to be endangered by The World Conservation Union (IUCN).

Numerous other marine mammal species inhabit Komandorsky Zapovednik. Sociable sea otter (Enhydra lutris) can be seen playfully frolicking in near shore waters, while common seal (Phoca vitulina stejneger), and larga seal (Phoca larga) haul out on rocky shores and sandy beaches to bask in the sun. The rich waters along the islands’ shores provide important feeding, wintering, and migrating habitat for 21 whale species—fourteen of which are toothed, and seven of which have baleen. These whale species include: sperm whale (Physeter catodon), killer whale (Orcinus orca), Bering Sea beaked whale (Mesoplodon stejnegeri), Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris), common porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), Dall’s porpoise (Phocoena dalli), little piked whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), coalfish whale (Balaenoptera borealis), fin whale (B. physalus), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), and north Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). Most of these cetaceans are listed in the Russia Red Data Book and are recognized by IUCN as threatened species.

Compared to the coast, which in the summer months is teeming with life, inland regions of the islands lack mammal diversity. Among the most notable denizens of the tundra are two Commander Islands sub-species of Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus semenovi, A. l. beringensis). These isolated populations are endemic to the Commander Islands and the Mednyi Island sup-species is listed in the Russia Red Data Book. Other terrestrial mammal species include wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), American mink (Mustela vison), and rats (Rattus spp.), all of which have been introduced to the islands by Man.

Komandorsky Zapovednik harbors an impressive assemblage of avian life. Numerous large colonies of nesting seabirds are protected along coastal cliffs on most of the Medny Island coast, the coast of Bering Island , and on Toporkov and Ary Kamen Islands . Here, where sheer cliffs plunge into the Bering Sea , nearly a million seabirds gather. The total number of nesting birds is estimated at 400,000- 500,000 pairs Among some of the most common are northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), common murre and thick-billed murre (Uria aalge, U. lomvia) - found in mixed colonies, the tufted puffin and horned puffin (Lunda cirrhata, Fratercula corniculata), pigeon guillemot (Cepphus columba), red faced cormorant (Phalacrocorax urile), glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens), black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), and red-legged kittiwake (Rissa brevirostris) - which nests in only three other locations in the world.

Pre-lake depressions and river valleys in the northern part of Bering Island offer the most favorable conditions for waterfowl and sandpipers. Northern pintail (Anas acuta) is the most common of all surface ducks nesting on the islands. It nests along river valleys on Bering Island and along large lakes in the southern part of the island. Although it is rarely encountered on Mednyi Island , individual pairs are known to nest on Toporkov Island . Other ducks found on the islands include mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), green-winged teal (Anas crecca), red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator), greater scaup (Aythya marila), and harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus). Swampy depressions around lakes and along rivers on Bering Island also provide nesting habit to several sandpiper species and their allies. Red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) is the most numerous sandpiper on in the lower parts of Bering Island , where most nesting areas are concentrated on the pre-lake swamp-tundra. Wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola) is also common here, as is common snipe (Gallinago gallinago). Waterfowl and sandpipers are largely absent from Medny Island .

The mountain tundra (from gravelly to forbs-heath), which covers significant territory on both islands, offers habitat to relatively few fauna species. Mongolian plover (Charadrius mongolus) nests in dry mountain tundra in the southern part of Bering Island and on Medny Island. Lapland longspur (Calcarius lapponicus), the most numerous of all the nesting sparrows, is also common in sub-alpine dry tundra. Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) is also occasionally encountered in the mountain tundra; although once a numerous non-migratory species, its numbers have dramatically decreased since the 1980’s, when the bird was hunted on Bering Island .

Rich with food sources, the islands’ coastal zone is crucially important not only for reproductive bird species, but also for migratory and wintering species. Wintering waterfowl include emperor goose (Philacte canagica), found in small flocks on the coast from October to April; the threatened Steller’s eider (Polysticta stelleri), which gathers in large flocks on the sea; and oldsquaw (Clangula hyemalis), which winters on Bering Island in small numbers. In the spring, migratory species include white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons), tundra bean goose (Anser fabalis), European widgeon (Marcca penelope), skylark (Alauda arvensis), and white westral (Motacilla alba). Migratory species appearing in the autumn include whooper crane (Olor cygnus), white-winged scoter (Melanitta deglandi), golden plover (Pluvialis dominica ) , and whimbrel (Numenins phacopus).

Among the birds observed on the Commander Islands, there are a number of American species found nowhere else in Russia: Canadian goose (Branta canadensis), bald eagle (H aliaeetus leucocephalus), glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens), red-legged kittiwake, a sub-species of peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus pealei), pigeon guillemot (Cepphus columba kaiurka), and snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis townsendi). Fifteen birds on the Commanders are considered rare species and are listed in the Russian Red Book: short-tailed albatross ( Diomedea albatrus), emperor goose, Steller’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus), Arctic falcon ( Falco rusticolus), peregrine falcon ( Falco peregrinus), red-legged kittiwake , Aleutian tern (Sterna aleutica), pigeon guillemot (Cepphus columba kaiurca), ancient murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus microrhynchos), glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens), rock ptarmigan, and rock sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis). Of these, the short-tailed albatross, Steller’s sea eagle, and red-legged kittiwake are also listed as vulnerable on IUCN’s list of threatened species.

In total, over 180 bird species have been registered on the Commander Islands . Almost 60 of them are nesting species, and among these, more than half are seabirds or waterfowl. Over 25 species are regular migrants and visitors, and nearly 100 species are stragglers or accidental visitors, carried to the islands by storms. In 1997, the Commander Islands received status as a Key Ornithological Territory of International Significance.

The Commander Islands are characterized by a low diversity of ichthyfauna. A number of salmon species inhabit the freshwaters of Bering and Mednyi Islands . These are Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), Dolly Varden char (Salvelinus malma), black spotted trout (Salmo purpuratus), Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha), red salmon (O. nerka), king salmon (O. kisutch), and humpback salmon (O. gorbuscha). In addition to these salmon species, thornback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) also plays an important role in the islands’ freshwater ecosystem, as it is an important food source to resident king salmon and char and also competes for food with juvenile salmon. All fish inhabiting the islands swim from the sea into rivers to spawn; there are no purely freshwater species inhabiting the islands. The most numerous and widely distributed species on Commander Islands is the char, which inhabits practically all the rivers and lakes and is encountered year round. The second most numerous fish species is red salmon, a large number of which reproduce in Lake Saran , on northern Bering Island .

Marine invertebrates are unusually abundant in nearshore waters. Among bivalve mollusks, the Baltic clam (Macoma baltica), common mussel (Mytilus edulis), and Pacific littleneck clam (Protothaca staminea) are common. Gastropod mollusks (Littorina squalida) are also numerous, as are helmet crab (Telmessus cheiragonus). Various sponges, sea stars and sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, S. polycanthus, S. Pallidus ) are also plentiful here.



Harsh natural conditions on the Commander Islands – its abundant moisture, low temperatures during the short growing season, and strong winds – have contributed to the formation of relatively primitive terrestrial vegetation. The majority of the territory on the islands is occupied by diverse alpine tundra communities. Dwarf shrub vegetation comprises the greatest number of species and occupies the most territory, with crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) dominating, and true moss (Bryales sp.) and lichen (Lichenes sp.) playing a significant role. Herbaceous vegetation is also quite diverse and occupies significant areas, including small grass communities along the sea shore, typical meadow communities, and unique grass communities distributed in thin strips or individual patches among dwarf-shrub vegetation. Tall and low shrub communities are poorly represented and forest communities altogether absent. The few trees on the island -- brush willow (Salix sp.), rowan (Sorbus sp.), and stone birch (Betula ermanii) -- can be found in river valleys only and range in height from one to two meters.

Vegetation on the islands, which is boreal with East Asian characteristics, is divided into two altitude belts, sub-alpine and alpine. The sub-alpine shrub-meadow zone, which is usually found at altitudes of 150-200 meters, is largely comprised of middle-grass meadows, and also has communities of larch shrubs (Larix spp.) and other woody-shrub vegetation. Tall grasses are developed in river valleys and other similar habitats. Dry slopes are covered by tundra dominated by lichen, heather, and crowberry. The plains in the northern part of Bering Island are mostly hummocky flat sedge-cotton grass tundra. Swamp tundra is also widely distributed here. The alpine meadow-tundra zone is dominated by a combination of alpine tundra and low-grass meadows. Rocky slopes at heights of 300-400 meters lack comprehensive coverage.

A total of 475 species of higher vascular plants have been identified on the Commander Islands . Almost one quarter of all species are located on the edge of their range. There are also eleven North American vascular plant species and several seaweeds, which are found nowhere else in Russia . A number of rare plant species listed in the Russian Red Book grow on the islands, including: quillwort (Isoetes maritime, I. asiatica) , Kochany lily (Lilium distichum), ladies’ slipper (Cypripedium yatabeanum, C. Macranthon), sagebrush (Artemisia insulana), orchid (Platanthera camtschatica), and cinquefoil (Potentilla beringensis).

Dry, hilly forbs-heath and underbrush heath tundra dominate on the northern part of Bering Island , which is characterized by plateaus and sloping plains. Here, small shrub and undershrub plants such as crowberry, alpine bearberry (Arctous alpine), cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), and dwarf cornel (Cornus suecia) dominate hummock tops. Crowberry, taller shrubs such as yellow rhododendron (Rhododendrun aureum) and dwarf cornel (Cornus suecia), and forbs including large-leaf avens (Geum macrophyllum), common woodrush (Luzula kjellmaniana) and Arctic hairgrass (Vahlodea flexuosa), thrive in the middle parts of hummocks. In the lowest parts of the hummocks, even larger dwarf shrubs such as Siberian mountain ash (Sorbus sambucifolia) and Arctic willow (Salix arctica) can be found.

River terraces are blanketed by dwarf-shrub tundra comprised of Arctic willow (Salix arctica), yellow rhododendron, and crowberry. On the coastal terraces between rivers on the western coast of Bering Island, species such as cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus), bog blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), Lapland cornel (Chamaepericlymenum suecicum), Kamchatka rhododendron (Rhododendron camtschaticum) are numerous, with Alaska arnica (Arnica unalaschcensis), subalpine fleabane (Erigeron peregrinus), Chamisso's lousewort (Pedicularis chamissonis), and other grass species also playing a role. Along river banks and in flat, estuarine parts of the river valley, some low thickets of willow (Salix alaxensis, S. parallelinervi) and stone birch are found.

With increases in altitude of up to 150-200 meters, dry, small hummock gravel-heath tundra begins to appear on flat interfluves. Here, primary coverage is provided by small crowberry plants (Empertrum nigrum), alpine azalea (Loiseleuria procumbens), alpine bearberry, pincushion plant (Diapensia obovata), and clubmoss mountain heather (Cassiope lycopodioides). On the lower slopes, plant communities include large dwarf shrubs such as Siberian mountain ash, yellow rhododendron, and Arctic willow; meadow forb species such as narcissus anemone (Anemonastrum narcissiflorum), calthaleaf avens (Geum calthifolium) and subalpine fleabane (Erigeron peregrinus) are also numerous here, as are other grass species.

Ascending upward to the alpine belt, one encounters a combination of heath-tundra on gravel-covered upper slopes, and lichen on exposed surfaces. In general, grass communities decrease, although occasional, fragmented alpine meadows dot the landscape. Comprised of low-grasses, small cereal grasses, and flat sedges such as Kentucky bluegrass (Poa alpigena), Pyrenean sedge (Carex pyrenaica), lakeshore sedge (Carex lenticularis), heartleaf saxifrage (Saxifraga nelsoniana), arctic bluegrass (Poa arctica), and Haenke's rush (Juncus haenkei), these meadows are most common near alpine streams, or in depressions where snow is slow to melt in the spring. On steep, rocky parts of the slope, among scree, in basalt fissures, and on pronounced outcroppings, pioneer groups of thymeleaf saxifrage (Saxifraga serpyllifolia), Funston's saxifrage (Saxifraga bronchialis), moss campion (Silene acaulis), boreal sagebrush (Artemisia arctica), and northern asphodel (Tofieldia coccinea) are encountered. Patches of lichen and true mosses are also encountered here.

Along the coast, grass communities dominate. Here, seaside sandplant (Honckenya peploides), seaside ragwort (Senecio pseudoarnica), and scurvy grass (Cochleaia arctica) dot the storm overwash zone. Coastal meadows comprised of dune grass (Leymus mollis), beach pea (Lathyrus maritimus), and sometimes eared Indian plantain (Cacalia auriculata) and seaside ragwort (Senecio pseudoarnica) occupy the coastal rampart. Further inland, on fixed sand, forbs-grain-flat sedge meadows comprised of Gmelin's sedge (Carex gmelinii), large-flower speargrass (Poa eminens), Hulten's licorice-root (Ligusticum scoticum), and Kamchatka aconite (Aconitum maximum), false snowparsley (Tilingia ajanensis) play a role. Along the rocky seashore, pioneer groups of crustose lichen, saxifrage (Saxifraga sp.), northern asphodel (Tofieldia coccinea), and species of draba (Draba sp.) can be seen.

The relatively warm coastal waters of the Commander Islands harbor an exceptional abundance of nearly 200 species of kelp. Nearest the shore, dark brown kelp (Laminaria bongardiana, L. longipes, L. gurjanovae, and Laminaria dentigera) and winged kelp (Alaria fistulosa, A. marginata, and A. angusta) are abundant. Further from shore, one finds a zone of dog whelk (Clathromorphum nereostratum, Phymatolithon spp., and Lithothamnium spp.).


Geographical Features

Komandorsky Zapovednik protects the Commander Islands and the thirty mile marine zone surrounding them. The reserve’s total area is 3,648,679 hectares, 3,533,500 of which are comprised of marine habitats. The Commander Islands are located in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean , and are bordered to the south by the Bering Sea . They are situated approximately 175 kilometers to the west of Russia ’s Kamchatka Peninsula . They are within the Aleut District in Kamchatka Province . The Commander Islands comprise the westernmost part of the Aleutian Island Chain, which extends for more than 2,000 kilometers between Kamchatka and Alaska and represents a unique bridge between Eurasia and North America . The islands are the peaks of an underwater range.

The archipelago is comprised of approximately fifteen compactly grouped islands, the largest of which are Bering (95 km by 15 km) and Mednyi Islands (55 km by 5 km). Among the other islands, the largest are Toporkov and Aryi Kamen islands. Toporkov Island is 0.5 square kilometers in area and is located four kilometers to the west of Bering Island . Aryi Kamen Island has a circumference of approximately one kilometer and is located nine kilometers to the west of Bering Island. The remaining islands are all significantly smaller, separately standing rocks that are located in close proximity to Bering and Mednyi Islands .

Although the Commander Islands occupy a relatively small territory (less than 2,000 square kilometers), their relief is nevertheless diverse, encompassing folded-block mountains and volcanic plateaus, flat, terraced plains, and eroded low mountains. An especially pronounced contrast in relief can be seen between the northern part of Bering Island – with its plateau and sloping plains, and the southern part of the island and Mednyi Island , which are covered by low mountains. Bering Island ranges from 150-755 meters above sea level, and its highest point is Steller Mountain at 755 meters. Mednyi Island is slightly lower, ranging from 360-647 meters; its highest point is Steineger Mountain , at 647 meters.

The majority of rivers on Mednyi Island and those in the central and southern parts of Bering Island begin in the mountains and are fed by snowmelt; they are small and fast flowing and often end in waterfalls. River valleys in the northern part of Bering Island are wide. There are a large number of lakes concentrated in the northern, plains part of Bering Island , including Sarannoye, Gavanskoye, Ladyginskoye, and other smaller lakes. In the southern, hilly part of Bering Island , there are fewer lakes, and these are significantly smaller in size, and usually located near river mouths. On Mednyi Island , there are only three large lakes: Gladkovskoye, Zhirovoye, and Peschanoye. Small peat lakes are common in wide river valleys on both islands. Toporkov and Ariy Kamen Islands , in contrast, lack freshwater sources.

The Commander Islands have a moderate, oceanic climate, which is influenced by circulating processes, developing over the northern part of the Pacific Ocean . Winters are relatively mild, summers cool, and transitional seasons short in duration. Winds on the islands are very strong: average annual wind speed exceeds seven meters per second, and hurricane strength winds occur during each month of the year. The Commander Islands also receive frequent precipitation – up to 220-240 days a year, with two thirds of that occurring in the warm season. The islands are also very foggy, especially in summertime.


Conservation Status

Since the famed explorer Vitus Bering discovered the Commander Islands on his 1741 expedition, human influence has left its mark on the islands’ natural environment and on numerous communities and species. Two species endemic to the Commander Islands – the Steller sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) and spectacled cormorant (Phalacrocorax perspicillatus) – went extinct over the last two centuries. The sea cow, a large northern manatee weighing up to 8,800 pounds, was quickly hunted to extinction by seal hunters, within less than 3 decades of Europeans’ arrival on the islands. The spectacled cormorant, a large, nearly flightless seabird, was also easy prey for hunters, and disappeared by the mid 1850’s. Uncontrolled and unsustainable harvest of northern fur seals through the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries led to the destruction of several rookeries (of which only one was restored, although others have since appeared). Intensive harvest has also imperiled the Commander Islands populations of Arctic fox, which were hunted for their fur. The Medny Island population (Alopex lagopus semenovii) has hovered dangerously close to extinction, while significant changes have also taken place in the gene fund of the Bering Island population (A. l. beringensis).

At the same time, numerous efforts have been made over the years to mitigate anthropogenic impacts on the islands’ natural complexes such as unsustainable hunting and fishing, poaching, overgrazing by livestock, pollution of coastal waters, and disturbance of breeding colonies. Some of these endeavors can be traced as far back as the early- to mid-nineteenth century, when the Russian-American Company, the colonial trading company with monopoly trading privileges on the Commander Islands , introduced measures to control harvest of fur seals and other fur-bearing animals. The Russian government undertook another important step in 1911, when, together with the United States , Japan , and Canada , it signed the North Pacific Fur Seal Treaty, which was active through 1984, and which banned seal killing at sea, as well as established a system through which the four countries agreed to share the gains from permitted kills. In 1958, the Soviet government issued a follow-up decree to the convention that established a thirty-mile-wide zone around the Commander Islands , in which fishing was prohibited. The decree also banned shipping traffic within twelve miles of the islands’ shores. Thanks to the creation of this zone, the Commander Island Shelf is now one of the few remaining areas of the region’s shelf that is still preserved in near pristine condition, unaffected by the damaging effects of trawl fishing.

In addition to these and other policies, treaties, and decrees, numerous proposals were made to establish a federal-level reserve on the islands and in their coastal zone. The first of these proposals dates as far back as the 1930’s, when V.N. Makarov proposed the protection of the Commander Islands . Despite other subsequent proposals, it wouldn’t be until 1993 that Komandorsky Zapovednik would finally be established. The reserve was unique, in that it was planned, from its very inception, as a biosphere reserve. Consequently, the new reserve was established with a complex and interrelated system of zones, which included core, strictly protected territories, as well as other zones that allowed for human nature use activities to occur.

The reserve’s early years were plagued by a number of challenges—inadequate financing, personnel problems, and logistic complexities associated with the reserve’s office not being located on the islands themselves, but rather in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, on the mainland. However, Komandorsky Zapovednik’s designation as a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2002 has moved conservationists and protected area mangers to direct closer attention to how the biosphere reserve concept might be more fully realized on this important territory. Toward this end, the reserve is actively conducting and supporting environmental education activities targeting youth in the local community of Nikolskoye. Reserve management also plans to engage local community members in scientific work and monitoring.

Another important direction for Komandorsky Zapovednik in the future is the increased development of sustainable ecological tourism on the islands. This industry would support the local economy and encourage the preservation of local natural and cultural attractions. Already, the reserve has developed two tour packages for summertime travel to and around the Commander Islands . The trips, which are a week to a week and a half in length, offer tourists the opportunity to observe or explore some of the islands’ most spectacular sites, including fur seal rookeries, seabird colonies, and historic sites associated with the Vitus Bering expedition in the eighteenth century.



Print resources:

Maiss, A.A., T.R. Mikailova, and G.P. Smirnov, Eds. Sea of Hope. The Status of Biological Resources in the Russian Part of the Bering Sea: Conservation Issues and the Role of Society. Chapter 7: “Status of Marine Reserves: Kamchatka and Koryakskii Autonomous Region.” MOBO DVORTs ISAR; Russian Island Press, Vladivostok , 2004.

Rzhavsky, A.V., Editor. Benthic Flora and Fauna of the Shelf Zone of the Commander Islands . Dalnauka, Vladivostok 1997.

Sokolov, V.E., M.E. Goltzman, I.I. Krupnik, I.I. Rusin, and A.V. Zimenko, eds. Rational Nature Use on the Commander Islands . Moscow State University Press, Moscow , 1987.

Sokolov, V.E., M.E. Goltzman, A.V. Zimenko, and A.V. Chesunov, Eds. Natural Resources of the Commander Islands : Stocks, Status, and Issues of Conservation and Use. Moscow State University Press, Moscow , 1991.

Zabelina , N.M. , L.S. Isaeva-Petrov, and L.V. Kuleshova. Zapovedniks and National Parks of Russia . Logata, Moscow , 1998.

Internet Resources:

V.V. Philyuchkoff. Commander Islands Website. (Russian Language). http://www.beringisland.ru

Text prepared by Melissa Mooza, editor of Russian Conservation News.

Special thanks to Tom Van Pelt for donating images to this site.

Nikolay Pavlov, who also provided images for the site, is the director of Komandorsky Zapovednik.

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