Russian islands declare emergency after mass invasion of polar bears

Lester Mason
February 11, 2019

A remote archipelago in the north of Russian Federation has declared a state of emergency after an invasion of polar bears sparked concerns among the region's residents, according to state media.

Russia's northeastern Novaya Zemlya archipelago, which has a population of around 3,000 people, has appealed for help to tackle "a mass invasion of polar bears into inhabited areas", regional authorities said in a statement.

WWF Russia, meanwhile, warned that the effects of climate change that have driven the polar bears to interact with the human population will also affect tigers and reindeer in Siberia and the Russian Far East. As Liz Greengrass, a director at the United Kingdom -based Born Free Foundation, told CNN previous year: "Polar bears are reliant on seals for food and seals rely on sea ice".

In an interview with TASS, local administration chief Zhigansha Musin said that, because it is illegal to cull polar bears in Russian Federation, "we will have to embark on a longer and less safe way for local residents".

"There are constantly 6 to 10 bears inside the settlement", he said.

CCTV footage shows the bear strolling down the snowy streets of Belushya Guba.

The government made a decision to send specialists on the islands after officials in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, with a population of about 3,000 people, sought help. An Instagram user uploaded photos and a video of the hungry bears.

Bears are constantly inside a military garrison and "literally chase people" he said as well as going into the entrances of apartment buildings. However, these measures seem to have failed as the bears are not afraid of signals used to scare them off, or patrol cars and dogs. However, the authorities decided not to shoot the predators, even most aggressive ones.

A working group of regional and federal officials is set to visit the archipelago to assess the situation and the measures taken so far.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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