Polar bear ‘invasion’ prompts state of emergency in remote Russian region

Mike Montone
February 11, 2019 - 9:13 am
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NOVAYA ZEMLYA, Russia (1010 WINS) -- There's a bear scare going on in a remote Russian archipelago.

CNN reports, parents in Novaya Zemlya, off of Russia's northeastern arctic coast, are afraid to send their kids to school because of a 'mass invasion' of polar bears in residential areas.

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The region has been under siege by bears since December, its largest settlement, Belushay Guba, has seen more than 50 bears.

Officials say the bears have attacked people and entered buildings prompting a state of emergency.

"People are scared. They are frightened to leave homes, and their daily routines are broken," local administrator Alexander Minayev said. "Parents are afraid to let the children go to school or kindergarten."

Conservationists say that climate change has led to increased contact between polar bears and humans.

"Polar bears are reliant on seals for food and seals rely on sea ice. Global warming is melting the ice so it has a chain reaction on how polar bears can survive," Liz Greengrass, a director at UK animal conservation charity Born Free Foundation said.

Deterrence tools including noice making machines, bright public lighting, bear-proof storage containers, rubber bullets, and safety protocols are being used to prevent potentially fatal encounters.