Polar bear on Wrangel Island, Russian High Arctic A polar bear wanders along the ice-free shoreline of Wrangel Island in the Russian High Arctic in early August, subsisting on his fat reserves and waiting for sea ice to form again. Although in the past the ice remained near the island all year round, enabling bears to hunt for seals even in late summer, now the ice recedes far away toward the central polar basin for several months during the melt season.
WRANGEL ISLAND, Russia: This remote Arctic island is believed to be the final place on Earth to support woolly mammoths as an isolated population until their extinction about 2000 BC. The island & its surrounding waters were classified as a "strict nature reserve" in 1976 & exclude practically all human activity other than for scientific purposes. As of 2003, there were 4 rangers who reside on the island year-round. A core group of about 12 scientists conduct research during the summer.