Russian region declares emergency over polar bear "invasion"

Russian region declares emergency over polar bear

Russian region declares emergency over polar bear "invasion"

The Russian town of Novaya Zemlya located on the north-eastern Arctic coast has declared an emergency over an "invasion" of dozens of aggressive polar bears that have entered homes and public buildings.

Since December, those living around the area's largest settlement-Belushya Guba, which has a population of about 2,500-have reported seeing at least 52 polar bears. Then the furry beast is seen circling in the lobby amongst baby strollers and other belongings. "Global warming is melting the ice so it has a chain reaction on how polar bears can survive".

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Efforts to drive out the polar bears from the human habitat have partly paid off, Zhigansha Musin, the head of the municipal administration, told Russian media on Monday.

Musin's deputy Alexander Minayev told regional authorities that some of the invading polar bears had attacked people, Agence France Presse reported on Saturday. "There's never been such a mass invasion of polar bears".

"There are constantly 6 to 10 bears inside the settlement", he said.

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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.

Although Russia classifies polar bears as endangered species and bans their killing, regional authorities reportedly entertained the idea of shooting down the animals as "the only possible forced measure".

Local officials complained that measures to scare off polar bears such as vehicle and dog patrols have not been effective as polar bears feel secure and no longer react. Photos and videos posted over the weekend show the bears traipsing through empty schoolyards and even infiltrating the corridors of office buildings in search of food. A group of specialists is going to be sent to the archipelago to assess the situation and make further decisions.

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