Russian Arctic archipelago sounds alarm over aggressive polar bears

Leroy Wright
February 12, 2019

In what is being called a outcome of climate change, more than 50 polar bears have invaded a Russian settlement in the Arctic, forcing terrified residents to stay in their homes, according to news reports. The region declared a state of emergency over a "mass invasion" of polar bears.

News agency TASS says that some of the bears have been aggressive, attacking people and entering homes.

Because polar bears are protected in Russian Federation, residents are prohibited from killing the hungry intruders, The New York Times said.

The people who live on the island have been trying to scare them off.

Novaya Zemlya was used by the Soviet Union to conduct nuclear tests, The Washington Post reported.

The sight of polar bears playing in the snow is usually guaranteed to bring smiles.

Alexander Minayev, the region's deputy head, added: "People are scared, and afraid to leave their homes".

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'There are constantly 6 to 10 bears inside the settlement'. "Parents are unwilling to let their children go to school or kindergarten".

"There's never been such a mass invasion of polar bears.

Global warming is melting the ice so it has a chain reaction on how polar bears can survive", Liz Greengrass, a director at United Kingdom animal conservation charity Born Free Foundation told CNN in 2018.

Some residents of Belushya Guba took to social media to show their own video and photos of the bears, and express their shock.

The worrying migration of bears began late previous year when the animals started to flock to the settlements of Novaya Zemlya en masse, seeking food at local dumps and harassing residents and their pets. But government officials said that they may have to cull these polar bears to ensure the safety of the local population.

The Arkhangelsk regional authorities, which oversee Novaya Zemlya, said that if all else failed "shooting the animals could be the only possible forced measure".

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