Polar Bears Invade Russian Town: State of Emergency Declared
12 February, 2019, 14:45 | Author: Sheila Harris
An Arctic region of Russian Federation has declared a state of emergency over a polar bear "invasion" which has left people "afraid to go outside". A state of emergency was announced on Saturday, with up to 10 polar bears reportedly on the settlement's territory at any given time. Authorities there have reported that the tiny islands, home to just a few thousand people, are playing host to a polar bear invasion.
Conservation authorities turned down a request from the settlement to shoot the bears, which are protected in Russian Federation as an endangered species.
Russian Federation has air force and air defence troops based on Novaya Zemlya.
Since December 2018, at least 52 polar bears have been spotted around Belushya Guba, a town on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, located in the Arctic Ocean.
The settlement put up additional fencing around schools and arranged for children to be driven to and from class.
The melting of Arctic ice is being blamed for pushing the animals closer to populated areas in search of food.
This included "attacks on people and entering residential homes and public buildings", said Minayev, the deputy chief of the local administration.
"I have been in Novaya Zemlya since 1983, but there has never been so many polar bears in the vicinity", local leader Zhigansha Musin told the news agency. "Parents are unwilling to let their children go to school or nursery", he added. Polar bears migrate seasonally along the coastlines of Novaya Zemlya, he said, with the timing of their movements and concentrations dependent on sea ice conditions.
Local officials complained that measures to scare off polar bears such as vehicle and dog patrols have not been effective as polar bears feel secure and no longer react. The residents of the island tried to scare off the polar bears using auto horns and dogs, but in vain.
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