Heritage Expeditions’ owner, founder and expedition leader, Rodney Russ, has been invited by the Russian authorities to spend a month on one of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth in an effort to help develop sustainable tourism to the region.
Russ will spend a month on isolated Wrangel Island in the Russian Arctic, a nature sanctuary world-renowned for its high concentration of polar bears.
“Heritage Expeditions has been working with the Wrangel Island Nature Reserve for the last four years to develop sustainable tourism to the island, but there is still much to learn about this amazing place, which holds great significance for the conservation of life on our earth,” said Russ.
“In recognition of that work and looking to the future, the Reserve Management has invited me to spend a month on the island, working with some of Russia’s most eminent Arctic biologists in order to better understand its unique eco-systems and explore new ways of sharing the island with visitors.
“The knowledge gained will enable Heritage Expeditions to continue to provide top level interpretation and teaching on all our Russian Far East voyages, especially our Wrangle Island expeditions,” said Russ.
Russ will work and live alongside biologists such as Irina Menyushina, who is studying Snowy Owls and Arctic foxes; Vasily Baranyuk who has a long running research project on Snow Geese; and Russian polar bear biologist, Nikita Ovsyanikov.
Tourism on the island, which lies in the Arctic Ocean off the Siberian coastline, is tightly controlled by the Russian Government and is usually closed to human activity other than for scientific purposes.
Heritage Expeditions has being operating expedition-style voyages to this part of the world for the past 6 years and has been granted special permission for unprecedented access to the Wrangel Island Nature Reserve for passengers on the company’s voyages. Usually it is not possible for tourists to visit the centre of the island or enter the nature reserve.
New Zealand-born Russ is no stranger to conservation and species preservation himself, having worked for the New Zealand Wildlife Service as a wildlife manager, and was responsible for the rediscovery of the Campbell Island Flightless Teal on New Zealand’s Subantarctic Campbell Island and a new population of the critically endangered Kakapo on Stewart Island.
“I am looking forward to the experience and in particular learning more about this remarkable place that now plays such a large part in my life,” said Russ.
In 2012, travellers will be able to join Russ and experience this awe-inspiring part of the world on Heritage Expeditions’ ‘Across the Top of the World’ programme. The voyages will depart 25th July and 8th August 2012 from Anadyr in Russia.
Prices for the 15-day expeditions start from US$9,400 per person and include one night pre-voyage hotel accommodation, transfers, all meals, shore excursions, permits and a US$500 landing fee. Heritage is also able to assist with competitively priced airfares to Anadyr, as well as additional pre and post voyage touring in the Russian Far East.
For further information on Heritage Expeditions’ voyages to the Russian Far East phone 1800 143 585 (Australia) or 0800 262 8873 (NZ) or visit www.heritage-expeditions.com