The Commander Islands

The Commander Islands

The Commander Islands are situated to the east of Kamchatka peninsula.

The islands are a preserved area of Kamchatka region. In 2002 they this area received the status of a biosphere reserve protected by UNESCO. The archipelago consists of 17 islands of different size. The biggest islands are Bering Island and Medny Island. All islands are a part of a huge submarine volcanic ridge, which extends from Alaska to Kamchatka.

The islands were called in honor of an outstanding explorer - Commander Vitus Bering. He was the first who discovered these islands and explored the territory as well as mapped the west coast of Alaska.

Climate is mild in winter (- 4°C in February) and it is cool in summer (+ 10.5°C in August). The climate is characterized by low precipitation, constantly high relative humidity of air and strong winds.

Flora and fauna

Flora and fauna of the islands are interesting for exploration. One can find numerous breeding grounds of sea mammals such as Fur Seals, Eared Seals, Steller's Sea Lions, Sea Otters and Spotted Larga Seals on the islands. The waters which surround the islands are habitats for some whale species: Sperm Whale, Killer Whale and Humpback Whale. One of the rarest whale species - Stejneger's Beaked Whale also inhabits waters of the Bering Sea. Arctic fox is the only species of terrestrial mammals, which inhabits the Commander Islands

There are 203 bird species on the Commanders, including 58 nesting ones: Red-faced Cormorants, Glaucous-winged Gulls, Northern Fulmars, Tufted and Horned Puffins, Pigeon Guillemots, Great Crested Grebe, Pallas's Cormorant, Brant, Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Buzzard, Gyrfalcon, Peregrine Falcon etc. There is a number of endemic forms and it is the only place in Russia where a number of American birds are regularly observed. Big bird colonies can be found on small islands of the archipelago.

According to the last data, 389 species of different plants have been registered on the Commander Islands.

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