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Follow a Journey to an Atlantic Walrus Wonderland – Franz Josef Land

Young Walrus Following along
A younger walrus follows the National Geographic media team around Rubini Rock. Photo by Lucie McNeil.

It’s things like this that still, after all these years, get me excited about National Geographic – the magazine that was a staple of every coffee table in every house I grew up in. There’s this place, up in the middle of absolute nowhere, called Franz Josef Land. It’s the sort of place that still draws explorers, since almost no one can get there. You see, Franz Josef Land is probably one of, if not THE most inaccessible island chains (archipelago actually) that there is. Basically, you get to Svalbard – already pretty much at the end of the Earth – and then turn northeast and keep going, and going, until you are about as far from any land mass as you can get. And there you are.

Fans of the walrus have their whiskers perk up when they hear the name Svalbard, since it’s pretty much Atlantic walrus central. One would assume that if you were already in Svalbard, and kept going northeast, one would run into a lot of walrus. One would be right!

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala is setting off to explore Franz Josef Land, one of the most remote archipelagos in the world, only 900 km from the North Pole. Home to polar bears, whales, seals and more, the team will investigate how global warming may be affecting this crucial ecosystem in ways we still do not fully comprehend.  Follow his adventures throughout the month.

The posts have titles guaranteed to attract a guy like me – “Walruses in the Mist” and “Oh, Give Me a Home Where the Walruses Roam”. There are incredible photos and engaging text snippets. The posts are short, but they give you a feeling for what must be a mystical, albeit cold adventure!

Here’s a link to all the blog posts tagged Franz Josef Land on National Geographic.com’s Explorer’s Journal. I’ll be following along and I hope you will too!

Here’s a link to the Wikipedia page about Franz Josef Land.

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