SALEKHARD • 9—11 DEC 2018 
Motherland - Chukotka
Arina Perepyolkina
Arina Perepyolkina
Radio host of "Radio Purga"


The quiz « Motherland-Chukotka» runs every weekday for two years already and is devoted to the flora and fauna of Chukotka. The DJs question the listeners not only for the entertainment purposes but also for the enlightenment ones: make listeners interested in some environmental issues such as preserving the rare species among plants and animals.

If the listener wants to win, then he has to answer two questions of three correct.

This is the mix of abstracts from several programs «Motherland-Chukotka», playing during the year in «Radio Purga». 

Text of the radio show


Chukotka, our Motherland! Chukotka, our Motherland!

Arina Perepyolkina (AP): Chukotka is one of the regions of Russia that possesses large aquatic recourses in the seas and lands, which is in its turn is concentrated in the wetlands, lakes and glaciers and various water reservoirs. Our aqua recourses are not only in the waters of the sea, washing Chukotka in the east and in the north, but also in the ground waters.

The main rivers of Chukotka are the Anadyr River with its tributaries the Main, the Belaya, the Tanurer, the Omolon, the Velikaya and the Amguema. The largest lakes are the Krasnoe, the Elgygytgyn. So, today we are going to talk about some of these aqua supplies because today is the Day of the Water Resources. We need to know them because they situated in Chukotka, close to us. Yury is on the phone. Hi, Yury!

Yury (Y): Hi, Arina!

AP: Today we are going to talk about aqua resources and we begin with the Chukchi Sea. I should emphasize that from all the Russian seas it was studied last. Semyon Dezhnyov, the Russian explorer, did its first study of that northeast sea of Russia. I remind you that the Chukchi Sea separates Alaska and Chukotka. It is the bordering sea between the USA and the Russian Federation. What definition, which I offer, might be used to describe this sea:

-      It is the easternmost and the shallowest from the northern seas.

-      It is the northernmost and the coldest of all seas of Russia.

-      Or is it the southernmost and deepest seas of Russia in the Northern Hemisphere?

Y: Of course, definition number 2.

AP: The northernmost and the coldest sea?

Y: Yes.

AP: I accepted this answer. Question number two. The Elgygytgyn Lake. In the Chukchi language, it means the “white lake” or “the lake of the eternal ice”. It is impossible to miss the lake when we talk about Chukotka water resources. One of the main uses of the lake is a fishery, which started in the 60-ss and the 70-ss. Fishing camp was situated there. What kind of fish are the endemic species for the Elgygytgyn Lake? I remind you that the word “endemic” means something having its habitat precisely on the very territory. Is that a stickleback, salmon or char? 

Y: The char. The 3rd version.

AP: Ok, I accepted your answer. One more question is left. Let's talk about the largest river in Chukotka. It has the same name as our city does – Anadyr. Its length is about 1150 km. It is divided into the numerous tributaries and creeks. It is very hard to find out which of them is the main. What is special about water supplies of Anadyr River? The choices are the next.

-      Unlikely other rivers, Anadyr doesn’t go into the sea but begins from it.

-      Anadyr gets its water from the underground sources.  

-      Or the 3rd version is that all the water comes to Anadyr from melting snow.

Y: Hm, I might choose the 1st version.

AP: Do you think that the Anadyr river receives water from the sea?

Y: Well.

AP: According to you, Anadyr doesn’t go into the sea but starts from the sea. What sea is it?

Y: Does it go into the sea, doesn’t it?

AP: No. The question is which sources of water does Anadyr use to maintain itself? Where from does it take its water?

Y: Then, snow.

AP: Your answer is snow, isn’t it? Ok. This answer is accepted and this is the correct one, because Anadyr doesn’t start from the sea, but it runs into it. It might take some water from the underground, but of course, the melting snow supplies the river with water.

The main fish in the Elgygytgyn Lake is the char, which is a kind of the arctic char – very precious fish.  It is a hybrid between the grayling and the char. So, the char is the endemic species of the Elgygytgyn Lake. And, you made just one mistake, even though you were absolutely sure for the Chukchi Sea. Well, Yiry, it is the easternmost and the shallowest one from all northern seas. It is covered with multiyear ice and is situated in the severe arctic cold – beautiful and unique Chukchi Sea.


Chukotka, our Motherland! Chukotka, our Motherland!

AP: People in ancient Russia were observing birds on this day and waited for the white stork to come. Well, we are looking forward to the first spring messengers – snow buntings. They are going to stay with us until the snow melts, then they are going to move to the mountainous tundra and even fly further north. A feathered and naughty creature, it likes when it is warm and flies to Chukotka at the beginning of spring…by the way just right after the swans. It nests above the northern polar circle. In summertime, it consumes insects and during wintertime seeds and grain. We recognize its trill among the others. Snow bunting is very popular in the northerners’ folklore. The northerners love this bird because it is the first spring messengers in the early polar spring. So, there is much folklore about it.

So, today I’d like to talk about this glib bird. We have a call from Elena. Hi, Elena!

Elena (E): Hi, Arinochka.

AP: So, Elena, I prepared for you three questions. We discuss the snow bunting today. Have you ever meet the snow bunting in person?

E: Yes.

AP: Ok, you had some encounters and now you have some information about it. So, let us go!

E: Yes.

AP: The snow bunting got its name from the Lappish word “punak”. Some people in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) call bright cows as “tuluk”, which means snow bunting in the Sakha language. So, what are the folk name for this bird: arctic sparrow, plantain dove or snow raven?

E: Well, lets chose the arctic sparrow.

AP: I accept this variant. Why did you choose this answer?

E: I don’t know…by guess.

AP: Ok. Let it be. Question number two. What bird family does the snow bunting refer to?

-      The family of perlovye [nonexistent name of the bird family and it means the adjective from the word “barley”];

-      ovsyankovyey (Emberizidae) [this is the correct name of the family, but it means in Russian the crashed oatmeal];

-      and gerkulesovye [Hercules means the whole oat grain]?

E: Ok, if it eats, as you mentioned, with grains…then … it is more likely …

AP: It eats grains in the winter when there are no worms around. But, when summer comes, snow buntings switch to protein.

E: I choose Emberizidae.

AP: Got it! One more question. It is about laying eggs. Usually the snow bunting lays 6-8 eggs. What colors are they?

-      Blue without any painting;

-      Green with dots

-      Or yellow with strips?

So, which one? Which color do you like?

E: Well, the snow bunting itself is black and white.

AP: Well …

E: Well, lets take the last version.

AP: This is the wrong answer, but you still win! Well, usually … they are not green, but greenish with some brown dots. The female nests them for 12-13 days. They said, there are yellow eggs with the dots, but still the color is closer to green – greenish and yellowish.  It is important that you named they family correct – they belong to the Emberizidae. They are also called the “plantain birds,” [the Russia name is pronounced like road], because one can meet them on the road. Because of its love to the roads, the snow bunting is often called the arctic sparrow, because they belong to the subclass of the Passerine. They look like sparrows … just a little bit bigger - this is how we can distinguish them. The most important thing for today is that we could find out what kind of birds was the snow bunting. Congratulations, Elena! You can send any wishes or greetings through our radio and then we’ll switch to the music.


Chukotka, our Motherland! Chukotka, our Motherland!

AP: Today is the International Forest Day and Forest Protection Day, which is celebrated around the globe. Despite the existing stereotype that Chukotka is just mountains and endless tundra, the 40% of our territory is covered with forests, and … this is 27 000 000 hectares. It is remarkable that only 70 employees work in various forestry departments. Forests are not only trees, but the bushes are also counted. They said, that the dwarf willows, dwarf birch are dominant trees along with the cedar birch, sedge and the cotton grass. There are light-coniferous woods in the river lowlands, consisting of larch and relic poplar trees. In Anadyr river basin there are mixed birch trees. There are about 1140 tall trees and we are going to talk about some of those trees today in our quiz to Denis. Hi, Denis.

Denis (D): Hi.

AP: Well, we are going to learn something new about the wooden world of Chukotka.

D: I am ready.

AP: Which district of Chukotka does have untypical Chukotka landscape? The larch woods cover the majority of this territory. Its landscape is very contrasting with the one, which Chukotka residents used to live in.  Is it Chukotsky district, Bilibinsky district or Iultinsky district?

D: The answer is number two. I think that this is Bilibinsky district. 

AP: Why do you think so? 

D: There are forests in Bilibino, right?

AP: Are you asking me or consulting with anybody? [Laughing]

D: My friend is next to me.

AP: Great, answering the question together. Question number two. You have to remember the name of the natural monument, which is situated between the two rivers – the Tnekveem and the Kataknavaam, surrounded by the Kanchalan Highlands to the south from the Chukchi Ridge? The monument itself is the multi-year forest. The width of the grove is 2 km and its length is 10 km. The trees reach 18 meter high. This is the oasis, which contrasts significantly with the typical tundra. It is also the unique natural phenomenon in Chukotka. What is the name of the monument?

-      Pekulney botanical monument?

-      Tnekveem Grove?

-      Avtotkul Reserve? 

D: I think it is number one and Pekulney botanical monument?

AP: Pekulney?

D: Yes, the first. 

AP: Ok. I accept this answer. Why have you chosen it? Are you familiar with the rivers of Tnekveem and Katakvaam.

D: Intuition. 

AP: Ok. Let’s go to the question number three about the tree-plant. This plant, of all wooden plants, spread farther north. This tree grows from China and Japan in the south up to Chukotka in the north. The Telekay Grove is its the northernmost habitat. What tree is it: screwpine, cempedak or chosenia?

D: Chosenia.

AP: Chozenia [making stress on sound [z]. This is it. It grows in Telekay Grove and people also call it the Birch Grove. It is important to mention that this tree is under the protection. This forested island is situated in the Schmidt district [currently Iultinsky]. It is worth to know.

Congratulations, Denis! You almost accomplished the tasks. There are more trees in Bilibinsky district for sure. It is a more non-Chukotka region because the main vegetation is larch and poplar. This is a forest-tundra zone. By the way, the Bilibinsky district has the most diverse vegetation in Chukotka. There is also an active volcano with its lava river of forty kilometres length. Also, the largest and the biggest moose population in Russia live there. But we don’t talk about them [moose], but about the trees. I would like to tell you where the nature monument is. It is in the mouth of the Tnekveem River and Katakvaam River and, of course, this is the Tnekveem Grove. It is not Pekulney botanical monument. The age of this monument goes back to the Holocene Era. This place is unique due to fact that it appeared on the severe open landscape, while others are situated in the river lowlands and protected the surrounding mountains.


Chukotka, our Motherland! Chukotka, our Motherland!

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