Polar Bears Invade Russian Town: State of Emergency Declared
11 February, 2019, 23:11
Scientists have long warned that the shrinking sea ice in the Arctic poses a direct threat to the bears, and increases the likelihood of encounters with humans. A state of emergency was announced on Saturday, with up to 10 polar bears reportedly on the settlement's territory at any given time.
Polar bears are classified as an endangered species in Russian Federation and shooting them is prohibited by law.
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.
With rising temperatures increasingly destroying the bears' Arctic habitats, interactions with humans are becoming more common.
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".
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Local people are scared, they are afraid to leave their houses, daily activities have been disrupted, parents do not let their children go to schools and kindergartens.
The head of the local administration Zhigansha Musin said that the numbers of polar bears were unprecedented.
The move came after officials in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, with a population of about 3,000 people, appealed for help.
Some residents of Belushya Guba took to social media to show their own video and photos of the bears, and express their shock. But these measures seemed to have only worked as a temporary solution because the polar bears keep returning. But government officials said that they may have to cull these polar bears to ensure the safety of the local population. Attempts to scare the hungry bears away with vehicle patrols and dogs have failed. However, the authorities decided not to shoot the predators, even most aggressive ones.