Russian islands under polar bear 'invasion'


His deputy said commonplace life was being disrupted by the probability.

Authorities in Russia's remote Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya have taken measures to chase away a band of polar bears that had established a reign of terror over locals in recent days.

He said: "Parents are wary of letting children go to schools and kindergartens".

Despite the siege, residents have been warned they face prosecution is they shoot the endangered species.

They are recognised as an endangered species in Russian Federation and hunting them is banned.

As the New York Times reported in 2017, the worldwide population of polar bears (estimated at 26,000 or so) is expected to decline due to climate change. Between six and ten polar bears are constantly on the territory of the settlement, reported TASS. "There are cases of aggressive behaviour of wild animals - attacks on people, penetration into residential and office buildings", he said.

Despite the growing threat from polar bear aggression, the country's environmental watchdog has ruled against using firepower to bring the situation under control.

Rather, a team of specialists has been dispatched to Novaya Zemlya to work with residents on nonlethal ways to end the infestation.

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Polar pears are being increasingly driven onto land because of the melting of Arctic sea ice, with their numbers rapidly declining.

However, no order has been given to kill the bears and federal authorities have declined to issue licenses that would allow locals to kill them without legal repercussions. This sometimes puts them at odds with humans.

About 52 polar bears frequently stroll through Beluchia Guba, the largest town in this archipelago where there is a Russian military base.

Station head Vadim Plotnikov was cited as saying that 10 adult bears and four cubs had surrounded the station.

Russian nature protection agency denied a request to shoot bears in order to scare the predators away.

Ilya Mordvintsev, a lead researcher at the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Moscow, told TASS that the reason so many polar bears had appeared near human settlement was because of the easy availability of food sources detected during their seasonal migration.

The helicopter also airlifted in two dogs to help the scientists keep the bears at bay.