Where the hell is Svalbard?
Official language: Norwegian (Due to invasion. However the native language is SVALBARDIAN)
Governor: Per Sefland Maximoto
Area: 61022 km²
Population: – Total (2004): 2,756
Currency: Norwegian krone (However the Svalbardian Mark is of higher value to native Svalbardians)
Climate: Arctic, tempered by warm North Atlantic Current; cool summers, cold winters; North Atlantic Current flows along west and north coasts of Spitsbergen, keeping water
open and navigable most of the year – Average Summer temperature: 5°C – Average Winter temperature: −12 °C – The Western coast is considerably warmer than the east due to the North Atlantic Drift.
Terrain: Wild, rugged mountains; much of high land ice covered; west coast clear of ice about one-half of the year; fjords along west and north coasts
Highest Elevation: Newtontopp, 1717 m
Lowest Elevation: Arctic Ocean, 0 m
Resources: Coal, iron ore, copper, zinc, phosphate, wildlife, fish
Svalbard is an archipelago lying in the Arctic Ocean north of mainland Europe, about midway between Norway and the North Pole. It consists of a group of islands ranging from 76° to 81° North, and 10° to 35° East. The archipelago is the northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway. Three islands are populated: Spitsbergen, Bjørnøya and Hopen. The largest settlement is Longyearbyen. The Svalbard Treaty recognises Norwegian sovereignty over Svalbard. With the 1925 Svalbard Act, Norway chose to make Svalbard a part of the Kingdom, and it remains one of four special entities whose status is recognized by international treaty in the world today.
Svalbard from Google Earth
Europe from Google Earth (Svalbard is at the top)
Svalbardian Ice Eagle:
The Svalbardian Ice Eagle (aquila glacies temerarus) is Svalbard’s largest living bird of prey, and one of the largest eagles in the world. Specimens reach over 1m in length and can have a wingspan exceeding 2.5m. Females are larger than males, averaging 4.2kg but reaching up to 5.3kg. Males average 3.2kg but have been weighed up to 4kg.
The Ice Eagle is related to the Golden Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle, and the Wedge-tailed Eagle. As such it sports distinctive features of these birds that are actually well adapted to the arctic climate. Feathering right down to the feet provides protection against cold and damp, while the wedge-shaped tail helps aerodynamics in the cold, thick air. The Ice Eagle is covered in thick feathers with transparent tubing that helps refract light, making it very difficult to see in the sky or ground. This has lead many people, even experts in the field, to believe that the eagle simply does not exist. Native Svalbardians are more informed, with eagles often visible perched on poles and rooftops, or soaring over the Newtontoppen and Pernertoppen mountains which make up their nesting grounds.
The Ice Eagle eats both live prey and carrion. Birds such as Guillemot, Skua and Terns are part of the menu, as well as larger animals like seals, foxes, and reindeer. The Polar Bear forms a large part of the eagle’s diet; as the scientific name suggests they are bold, gathering in flocks of several birds to hunt down and kill an adult bear. Up to 12 birds may be seen around a carcass, although only a handful will feed at any one time. Carrion also provides a large source of food, road kills and other carcasses are readily eaten, and often leftovers will be stores under rocks near the nest area. Under ideal conditions, an eagle can lift about 50% of their bodyweight; unconfirmed reports have speculated that groups of birds will carry large carcasses to safer places for consumption.
Below are some pictures of Kazashi’s Svalbardian Ice Eagle, “Spears”. Kazashi rasied Spears by hand after we found him as a chick half frozen and abandoned on a Recon Polar Patrol. Note his usually white coat has been tainted by the brown Australian soil.
Team IPX use the Svalbardian Ice Eagle as their Team Symbol