Wrangel Island, 88 miles off the coast of northeastern Siberia, is one of the world’s most restricted nature reserves. Elston and Jackie Hill were two of only five visitors allowed permission for a 10-day stay on this remote 10,000-square-mile island. Their overland trip was led by the Director of the Reserve.
Russia declared the island a federally managed nature sanctuary in 1976, and it was proclaimed the northernmost World Heritage Site in 2004. The Hills share with us their encounters with the animals of the island; snowy owls, muskoxen, and arctic foxes. The island also supports the largest population of Pacific walruses, the only snow goose nesting colony in Asia, and is the world’s largest denning ground for polar bears.
Along with the animals of today, the Hills come across tusks of woolly mammoths, believed by paleontologists to be the last place they lived, and make their way across the landscape of undisturbed Pleistocene tundra, unique on the planet.