Polar bear 'invasion' sparks emergency


A remote Russian Arctic archipelago has declared a state of emergency over an "invasion" by more than 50 polar bears, confining numerous 3,000 inhabitants to their homes. "Parents are afraid to let the children go to school or kindergarten".

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. The measure was triggered by a massive invasion of polar bears, the governor's press office said in a statement.

The polar bears, having become convinced they are safe, no longer react to light and noise signals or attempts to drive them away with patrol cars and dogs.

The Russian environmental watchdog said it is sending an expert team to the archipelago to assess the situation and prevent attacks on humans.

Authorities within the Novaya Zemlya islands, home to a pair thousand other folks, said there had been conditions of bears attacking other folks and entering residential and public buildings.

"There are constantly six to 10 bears inside the settlement", he said.

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.

"They are staying [near the main settlement of Belushya Guba] because there is some alternative food".

Despite the invasion, residents have been cautioned against shooting and will face prosecution if they do, as polar bears are classified as an endangered species in Russia, Daily Mail reports.

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

The Siberian Times reports that shooting in the air, sounding vehicle horns and erecting fences have all failed to curb the bear invasion and a team of specialists is en route to the archipelago to assesses the situation.

People are "afraid to go outside" and "daily life is in turmoil", said the deputy head of the local administration, Aleksandr Minayev.

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