The Narwhal is a marine animal — a northern toothed whale with a distinctive tusk — that lives exclusively in the Arctic. This marine mammal is extremely sensitive to changes in the environment — and, as such, acts as a true indicator of Arctic ecosystems. Ongoing observations of the species and its closest neighbours will make it possible to monitor the environment in the Arctic, and support its sustainability.
The Narwhal research project — which involves studying and protecting these animals — was launched in 2019. Gazprom Neft, which is undertaking some major high-tech projects in the Arctic, has taken the initiative in studying, looking after and raising awareness of this species.
Diet: bottom-feeding fish, molluscs and crustaceans. Narwhals can dive to depths of up to 1,800 metres in search of food. Narwhals have a sensory ability, called "echolocation", which they use to find food and navigate underwater.
In the Middle Ages, as well as in modern times, narwhal tusks were a very valuable commodity. Merchants attributed them with special medicinal and magical powers, spreading legends and stories about the magical "sea unicorns" that lived on land and sea.
High-latitude Arctic waters
Length: 2–3 metres
Thickness: 7–10 centimetres
Weight: up to 10 kilogrammes
Length: 4.5–5 metres
Weight: 1,500 kilogrammes
The narwhal — that most enigmatic of creatures, the "sea unicorn" is the stuff of legend.
The narwhal is that most enigmatic of creatures, the "sea unicorn", and the hero of ancient myths and legends. This northern whale is found around Novaya Zemlya, and the Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land archipelagos. Its most striking feature is its corkscrew-like tusk, from which it gets its romantic nickname. In the Middle Ages — and in modern times — the narwhal’s tusk was said to have magical powers. Even now, this rare animal (listed in the Red Book of endangered species) is still surrounded by a halo of mystery.