Published: Mon, February 11, 2019

Polar bear invasion in Novaya Zemlya archipelago caused by seasonal migration

Polar bear invasion in Novaya Zemlya archipelago caused by seasonal migration

A remote Russian region has declared a state of emergency over the appearance of dozens of polar bears in its human settlements, local officials say.

Since December, at least 52 polar bears have been seen in the archipelago's primary settlement, Belushya Guba.

According to Minaiev, "people are afraid to leave home (...) parents are afraid to let their children go alone to school". He lived since 1983 on the island, but a collection of so many bears he had never experienced before.

Attempts to drive them away using patrol cars and dogs have been futile, according to officials.

Local administration head Vigansha Musin was reported by the British news outlet as saying that the local military garrison, where air and air defense forces are based, has had over five bears come onto the base.

"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.

"There are cases of aggressive behavior of wild animals, such as attacks on people and entering into residential and office buildings".

He warned the animals are "literally chasing people and even entering the entrances of residential buildings".

'In the village there are constantly from six to ten polar bears.

Belushya Guba is the main settlement on a remote archipelago to the north of the Russian mainland. The military personnel and employees are delivered to workplaces by special vehicles, while the area is patrolled.

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

Yet despite the creatures' incursion, the federal environment agency has refused to issue licenses to shoot the bears.

"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.

Melting of sea ice caused by climate change has left the bears with no way, but to look for food on the land.

Officials said it is hoped that firearms will not be needed to drive the bears away, but they cautioned that culling of the animals can not be ruled out.

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