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The Kuril Islands

Help us protect this environmental gem

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58 islands, North Pacific Right Whales, Steller Sea Lions, Fur Seals, Murrs...

...protection is not optional.

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We went to film an adventure story. Then a volcano changed everything...

The untold story of our documentary shoot

In the early stages we were looking at creating an adrenaline soaked adventure story with stunning scenery of the mythical and almost impossible to access Kuril Island chain in the Far East of Russia.

What we ended up with was something much more powerful, much more meaningful, and with a more personal and heartfelt plea for conservation than we ever could have imagined. And Vladimir Burkanov, the undisputed guardian of the Kurils who only by coincidence decided to hitch a ride with our expedition ship, then become our guide and ultimately our inspiration to reshape and use our efforts to help protect the area.

Dr. Vladimir Burkanov.

The world's expert on the Kuril Islands.

His 20 year fight can only continue with your help.

Vladimir has seen the decades-long changes in the region firsthand and also the sad decline of some important top predators in the area, like Steller sea lions and sea otters. His vision is to turn large parts of the region into marine protected areas and national parks to safeguard their beauty for future generations, protect biodiversity and improve overexploited coastal and oceanic ecosystems in the Kurils Islands. He also sees the potential to keep the region's diverse flora and fauna healthy to provide a sustainable source of seafood in years ahead.

Kuril Islands
5 key facts

1.Vladimir Burkanov's first expedition to find Steller Sea Lions in the Kuril Islands was 25 years ago, in 1995.

2.Since population counts of Steller Sea Lions commenced in the 1980's, it's estimated that the population has declined by 80% in the Kuril Islands.

3.The research team at Tyuleny Island use drones and their own AI system to monitor mammal populations. What used to take days, now takes just a few hours.

4.The Raikoke Volcano last erupted in 2019 (just before making the film). Prior to that, the most recent eruption was in 1924 and before that, in 1778.

5.As our expedition team crossed the Sea of Okhotsk, we encountered a critically endangered North Pacific Right Whale. It is believed to be one of only 30-40 remaining from the eastern population.

Kuril Islands
5 key facts

1.Vladimir Burkanov's first expedition to find Steller Sea Lions in the Kuril Islands was 25 years ago, in 1995.

2.Since population counts of Steller Sea Lions commenced in the 1980's, it's estimated that the population has declined by 80% in the Kuril Islands.

3.The research team at Tyuleny Island use drones and their own AI system to monitor mammal populations. What used to take days, now takes just a few hours.

4.The Raikoke Volcano last erupted in 2019 (just before making the film). Prior to that, the most recent eruption was in 1924 and before that, in 1778.

5.As our expedition team crossed the Sea of Okhotsk, we encountered a critically endangered North Pacific Right Whale. It is believed to be one of only 30-40 remaining from the eastern population.

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