Ostrov Utashud, Russia
Utashud is a small, rocky island set in Vestnik Bay, just off the southeast coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Far East Russia. Part of the Kuril island chain, it is encompassed within the South Kamchatka Nature Park — one of six sites comprising the World Heritage-designated Kamachatka volcanic region. UNESCO describes it as a place where “[t]he interplay of active volcanoes and glaciers forms a dynamic landscape of great beauty,” which is on display in Utashud’s tall, sharp cliffs and snow-covered volcanic peaks. This raw, wild place is rich with wildlife, particularly sea otters; the region’s indigenous peoples would head here to hunt the creatures for their thick pelts. The island also is home to northern fur seals and a number of bird species, including the rare Stellar's sea eagle — largest of the Haliaeetus species — and sizeable populations of tufted puffins, Brunnich’s guillemots, and other nesting marine birds.