The main means of transportation in the Chukchi Territory is dog sleds. Often they are found in villages that preserve ancient hunting traditions while fishing for marine animals. The Chukchi and Eskimos go on dogs to hunt walruses, whales, lakhtaks, and also to fish. Occasionally, such teams are used to get to the neighboring graying. They travel hundreds of kilometers to see their friends. Since recently, such transportation has become the subject of sports. The unique pictures were shared by photographer Andrei Shapran.
Chukotka team in training in winter conditions.
Grow and pick up dogs by character and ability is not so simple. In one harness there are 10-14 dogs. And each requires the owner of daily care and attention.Vaccinations are a necessary measure in local conditions, since the presence of stray dogs in every Chukchi village can not guarantee safety for the owner of the team.In winter, with the advent of ice until the beginning of summer, hunting for the coast in national villages continues. The Chukchi go to another thin ice in the polynya – one, the second – they arrange ambushes for the hummocks and wait patiently for the appearance of the seal: fatty animal food is required throughout the long winter period not only for people but also for dogs.Today, the teams are mostly distributed only in the villages of Chukotka, where old hunting traditions have been preserved and marine animals such as walrus, laghtaks, seals, gray and bowhead whales, as well as river or sea fish have survived. The head of a gray whale, after a successful hunt, usually goes to the hunter who first whip the whale.Chukchi in the village of Inchoun carries on the sleds the meat of a sea animal, which was hunted.
Meat harvested during hunting is stored throughout the long winter period: it is laid either in so-called meat pits – cellars dug right on the coast, on a hill – or in glaciers.
Sled dogs in the national village of Lorino on the coast of the Bering Sea
Repair, as well as making sledges, is made directly by the owner of the team. It is very difficult to find the necessary and durable material in conditions of isolation and lack of forest. The covering for sliding on sleds in an ideal form should be of durable plastic, which is also a rarity in Chukotka.
Wild or stray dogs are characteristic of absolutely all settlements in Chukotka – both on the east coast and in the Arctic. These animals are, as a rule, a threat to the environment – they destroy birds’ nests, foxes, and on walrus rookery they can cause panic and a crush among animals. Having got into flocks, they can attack and the person.
In Chukchi villages of wild dogs from time to time shoot themselves hunters.
Children ride on a dog sled on the ice of a frozen lagoon.The family of Peter Poyahirgin – one of the most famous young champions in Chukotka, an indispensable participant in the spring dog sled competitions. Peter prepares his dogs for the race throughout the year. He is one of the few who is able to go alone on a harness for many kilometers.
Families of sea hunters, although stable, but more than a modest income – in the family works, as a rule, only one person. Given the state’s threshold of survival – 20 thousand rubles – this amount can still somehow be lived in Anadyr, but in the east of the peninsula or in the arctic zone, where food prices due to northern sea shipments (by ship or helicopter) are hardly different not twice, the life of people can be described as ascetic.
Puppies in the village of Laurence on the coast of the Bering Sea.A year later they will run in harness.