Monday, 11 February 2019

Hungry polar bears invade settlement on Novaya Zemlya

Russian Arctic town suffers POLAR BEAR INVASION, dozens of predators ‘won’t go away’ (VIDEOS)

Russian Arctic town suffers POLAR BEAR INVASION, dozens of predators ‘won’t go away’ (VIDEOS)

10 February,2019

A state of emergency has been declared in the Russian Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya, as locals face a massive “invasion” of polar bears, with over 50 predators seeking food and harassing residents in the urban landscape.

The move was announced Saturday after several weeks of close encounters between locals and the fearsome furry beasts.

People are fearful, they are afraid to go outside, daily life is in turmoil, parents are wary of letting children to go to schools and kindergartens,” deputy head of the local administration, Aleksandr Minayev, said in a statement.

The town of Belushya Guba seems to be the most affected by the polar bear problem, with at least 52 specimen roaming around the vicinity. A bunch of videos have emerged online showing the bears strolling down the snowy streets, digging through food waste – and even trying to invade homes.

I've been in Novaya Zemlya since 1983, yet I've never seen such a massive polar bear invasion,”
 head of local administration, Zigansha Musin, said, adding that at least five predators seem to be staying at the village all day long.
While polar bears don’t normally hunt humans, preying on various sea mammals instead, a close encounter with them can result in serious injuries or being mauled to death.

To fend off the beasts, Belushya Guba has already erected some fences and tried to scare the predators off by vehicles and warning shots. Some bears, however, seem to be eager to stay in the town despite all the efforts of humans.

The town ultimately decided to hunt down a few animals – which proved to be easier said than done, since the polar bears are an endangered species protected in Russia. The administration has asked the national nature protection watchdog for permission to shoot and kill the most rowdy bears, yet the request has been denied. The watchdog, however, is set to dispatch a team of specialists to the troubled village to try and tackle the problem without unnecessary violence.

Russia may shoot dead 52 polar bears ‘invading’ village homes as sea ice melts
Mammals have attacked people, one official claims, with parents afraid to send children to school

10 February, 2019

A remote region in Russia has declared a state of emergency after more than 50 polar bears reportedly broke into homes and offices.

Some of the animals – forced inland by shrinking sea ice – have even attacked people on the Novaya Zemlya islands, an official said.

Hunting polar bears is banned in Russia, but authorities warn a cull may be the only answer if other means of warding them off fail.

Last year a study published in Science found polar bears are starving because climate change is melting Arctic ice, so they spend more time on land looking for food. 

The animals are officially classed as “vulnerable”, with numbers falling.

Since December the military have been patrolling the streets of Belushya Guba on the islands but the animals have lost their fear of the signals used to ward them off, so more drastic measures are needed, officials said.

The village, home to about 560 people, has reported 52 bears have been spotted in two months with some of them attacking people, breaking into houses and other buildings, according to Aleksander Minaev, deputy head of the Novaya Zemlya region.

People are scared, afraid to leave their homes, their daily routines are being broken, and parents are unwilling to let their children go to school or kindergarten,” Mr Minaev said.

Local administration chief Vigansha Musin said more than five bears were on the grounds of a military garrison.

I’ve been on Novaya Zemlya since 1983,” he said. “There’s never been such a mass invasion of polar bears.”

In 2016 five Russian scientists were “besieged” by polar bears for several weeks at a remote weather station on the island of Troynoy, east of Novaya Zemlya.

Russia’s remote archipelago of Novaya Zemlya (meaning New Earth), in the Arctic Ocean off northern Russia, has a population of just over 2,000 people.

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