Russian islands declare emergency after mass invasion of polar bears

Russian islands declare emergency after mass invasion of polar bears

In what is being called a effect of climate change, more than 50 polar bears have invaded a Russian settlement in the Arctic, forcing terrified residents to stay in their homes, according to news reports.

A state of emergency has been declared as authorities work out how to tackle the problem. Instead they've offered to send a commission to investigate the situation but have not ruled out a cull.

In an interview with TASS, local administration chief Zhigansha Musin said that, because it is illegal to cull polar bears in Russian Federation, "we will have to embark on a longer and less safe way for local residents".

The archipelago's main settlement of Belushya Guba has reported a total of 52 bears and between six and 10 on its territory at most times.

"People are scared", local administrator Alexander Minayev told CNN.

While this story may garner attention because of how unusual it is, the grim reality is that as the climate continues to change and the habitat of polar bears and other species continues to disappear, incidents like this are likely to become the norm in the years to come. "The bear is a curious animal, and it will smell the human food", Mordvintsev said.

"People are scared, they are afraid to leave their homes. parents are frightened to let their children go to schools and kindergartens".

"There's never been such a mass invasion of polar bears", said Zhigansha Musin, the head of the local administration. "With Arctic sea ice diminishing as a result of climate change, polar bears are forced to change their hunting habits and spend more time on land looking for food", a BBC reporter wrote, "which potentially puts them in conflict with humans".

Novaya Zemlya was used by the Soviet Union to conduct nuclear tests, The Washington Post reported. "They are literally chasing people and going into the entranceways of housing buildings".

Some residents of Belushya Guba took to social media to show their own video and photos of the bears, and express their shock. Attempts to scare off the polar bears using vehicle horns and dogs have all failed, the Tass news agency said.

The Russian agency tasked with protecting natural resources denied a request by local officials to shoot the bears.

Something unusual is happening in Novaya Zemlya, a remote, northern Russian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

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