'The people are scared': Polar bears move in on Russian Arctic settlements

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 11, 2019

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".

The focus is the town of Belushya Guba where 52 polar bears have been counted scavenging for food in local dumps and wandering around the settlement.

'Parents are wary of letting children to go to schools and kindergartens, ' he said.

Presence: Two of the dozens of polar bears regularly spotted in the area.

The bears had lost their danger of police patrols and signals abnormal to warn them off, that plan that extra drastic measures had been wanted, officials said.

Russian authorities have said that the shooting of polar bears, which is strictly prohibited, could potentially be allowed in extreme circumstances.

In comments reported by AFP, Deputy Chief of Administration Alexander Minayev said some bears were displaying "aggressive behaviour" including "attacks on people and entering residential homes and public buildings".

He also added that the bears are "literally chasing people and even entering the entrances of residential buildings", which sounds absolutely bloody terrifying. They are staying in that location [near Belushya Guba] because there is some alternative food.

Around 3,000 people live on the island and are said to be "afraid to go outside" as the bears cause their daily life to be "in turmoil", according to the deputy head of the local administration, Aleksandr Minayev.

In an attempt to safeguard residents, additional fences were erected near kindergartens and military personnel and workers were driven to service in secure vehicles.

The arctic animals are recognized as endangered species in Russian, and hunting them is banned.

"The decision to declare an emergency situation on the territory of Novaya Zemlya from February 9 was taken at a meeting of the commission tasked to prevent emergencies and ensure fire safety", says a statement from the region's government released on Saturday.

They say that if other means to scare off the bears fail a cull could be the only answer.

Though attacks on humans are rare, according to the conservation group Polar Bears International, they're expected to increase as more sea ice melts and the animals spend more time ashore.

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