Chukotkan Autonomous Okrug

Physical geography and climate
Population, economic development and infrastructure
Indigenous land use and dependence on the environment
Environmental threats
Map (1997)
Article collection

Environmental threats

The conditions of pasture lands are critical both for economic reasons and for the main­ten­ance of the indigenous culture of the Chukchi.Degradation of reindeer pastures due to the development of mining and infrastructure is a severe problem. Radioactive pollution of pastures from nuclear tests in the Russian Arctic in the 1960s and 1970s constitutes a health problem, especially for the share of the population that live largely on reindeer meat.

The marine hunting and fishing subsistence of the Chukchi and Yupik is also threatened by several impacts: The increase of shipping in coastal waters may change the migration pattern and feeding areas of sea mammals. Walrus gathering places have already changed. Commercial high-seas fishing by non-natives in the Bering Strait is reducing the amount of available fish stocks for the native coastal fishers.

Possible oil and gas develop­ment, both offshore and onshore, may cause severe impacts on all occupations by the resulting development of infrastructure, resource exploitation, pollution and disturbance of wildlife, as experienced in western Siberia and Alaska .