Night-time helicopter reconnaissance revealed a long-awaited sighting of some narwhals, with researchers spotting a large group – with calves – around Zemlya Georga. Further on, in the southern bays of Zemlya Georga, we encountered several more groups, of two to 30 narwhals. Beluga whales were recorded in some of these groups, supporting the hypothesis that narwhals and belugas co-exist. We managed to get some initial photos and video footage. Yay!
This finding is incredibly important: it means the Russian Arctic is, indeed, home to narwhals. The outcomes of this (so far limited) research point to the provisional scientific conclusion that narwhals and beluga whales are seasonal inhabitants of the waters around Franz Josef Land.