Russian region declares emergency over polar bear "invasion"

Postado Fevereiro 11, 2019

It is not yet clear how long the state of emergency will last in the region, which was once used for Soviet nuclear tests and is now a Russian military garrison.

Polar bears are recognized as an endangered species in Russian Federation and hunting them is banned.

Russia's northeastern Novaya Zemlya archipelago, which has a population of around 3,000 people, has appealed for help to tackle "a mass invasion of polar bears into inhabited areas", regional authorities said in a statement.

It is thought that rising global temperatures have contributed to a reduction in the size of the polar bears' sea-ice habitats, forcing them onto land for longer periods of time.

"I have been in Novaya Zemlya since 1983, but there has never been so many polar bears in the vicinity", local leader Zhigansha Musin told the news agency.

Local people are scared, they are afraid to leave their houses, daily activities have been disrupted, parents do not let their children go to schools and kindergartens.

Other footage shows the polar bears feeding on rubbish at a local dump. An Instagram user uploaded photos and a video of the hungry bears. Attempts to scare off the polar bears using auto horns and dogs have all failed, the Tass news agency said.

The influx of polar bears has steadily climbed as the affects of climate change drive the large predators further inland to seek food as the Arctic ice melts depriving them of rich hunting grounds. A group of specialists is going to be sent to the archipelago to assess the situation and make further decisions.

Russian Federation has air force and air defence troops based on Novaya Zemlya.

In January, a defence ministry official said that hundreds of disused military buildings had been demolished on Novaya Zemlya because polar bears were settling inside them.