Bear Island

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Bear Island

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    298,300 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    74°26'N 19°01'E
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


Bear Island (Bjørnøya). 12/11/2010; 298,300 ha (280,500 ha of sea). 74°25N 019°2E. Nature Reserve. An isolated island situated between the Svalbard archipelago and the Norwegian mainland; approx. 250 km from Svalbard and 450 km from the mainland. While the Northern and Western parts are covered with lakes and small ponds, covering 10% of the area of the island, the South and East are dominated by tall mountain formations partly with steep cliffs. High primary production makes this site an important foraging area. 126 different species of birds have been observed on the island, of which 33 breed here, including species listed on the Norwegian (Svalbard) Red List such as Common Guillemot Uria aalge (VU) and Razorbill Alca torda (EN). The seabird colonies in the southern parts of Bjørnøya are among the largest in the Northern Hemisphere. It is estimated that over one million seabirds gather here during the breeding season. The site fulfills the 1% criterion for Black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla with approx. 125,000 breeding pairs. It is also an important resting and foraging site for migrating birds such as Pink-footed geese Anser branchyrhynchus, Barnacle geese Branta leucopsis and Brent geese Branta bernicla hrota. The marine area surrounding Bjørnøya is important as nursery ground for e.g. cod, haddock and Greenland halibut. In total there are 24 fish species and most of the Arctic whale and seal species have been observed. Bjørnøya is included in The National Monitoring Programme for Seabirds and there is a weather station of the Meteorological Institute on the island. A Management Plan has been provided to the Secretariat. Ramsar Site no. 1966. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Administrative region: 

  • National legal designation: 
    • Nature Reserve
  • Last publication date: 


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