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In Photos: On Russia's Remote Wrangel Island, a Haven for Arctic Wildlife

In the remote waters of the Arctic Ocean above Russia's Far East mainland lies Wrangel Island — a rugged, mountainous stretch of land that remains barely touched by human life.

The 91st-largest island in the world, Wrangel Island covers an area roughly the size of Crete and is under UNESCO protection.

As the island is sparsely populated by humans, it serves as a vital habitat for rare plant and animal species.

Yet this habitat is under threat.

Russian officials are considering undoing some of the island's environmental protections in order to turn it into a staging ground for military exercises, the Kedr.media environmental news outlet reported Thursday.

Here's a look at photos of the island's unique ecosystem: