Russian Polar Bear 'Invasion' Is a Sign of Something Much Bigger
Media reports and video footage show the bears eating garbage, appearing near school grounds and entering buildings and residential homes.
What man is doing to the planet: polar bears on a rubbish dump in Novaya Zemlya, Siberia. How dispiriting. https://t.co/NwBHDmg82l— PeterMurtagh (@PeterMurtagh)1549792808.0
Officials said they've never seen anything like it.
"I have been in Novaya Zemlya since 1983, but there has never been so many polar bears in the vicinity," said Zhigansha Musin, a local administrative head, according to Russian news agency TASS.
The bears are considered an endangered species in Russia, so killing them is prohibited. But officials said that if non-lethal means cannot drive the animals away, they might have no choice but to cull them, the BBC noted.
The officials said the bears no longer fear either police patrols or the signals used to scare them away.
Bear invasion - 3 www.youtube.com
Some 52 polar bears have been counted near the settlement since December.
Local official Alexander Minayev said the bears were exhibiting "aggressive behavior," including "attacks on people and entering residential homes and public buildings," AFP reported.
"There are constantly six to 10 bears inside the settlement," he said. "People are scared, they are afraid to leave their homes ... parents are frightened to let their children go to schools and kindergartens."
In the Russian Arctic, the polar cap and permafrost is melting twice as fast compared to a decade ago due to rising global temperatures. The dwindling sea ice has forced polar bears to abandon their usual habitats and descend upon human settlements in search of food.
Not good: “The world of the polar bear is shrinking—everywhere.” https://t.co/AEc0wI1ZYc @EcoWatch #climatechange https://t.co/sJuMVam495— Greenpeace USA (@Greenpeace USA)1475240883.0
In a statement to TASS, researcher Ilya Mordvintsev of the Severtsev Institute of Ecology and Evolution said the bears were migrating north but stopped in Belushya Guba to find food.
"Compared to previous years, they come ashore in the southern part of the archipelago, where the ice is changing. They migrate through Novaya Zemlya heading north, where the ice is solid," the expert said. "It is migration from the south to the north. They are staying in that location [near Belushya Guba] because there is some alternative food. They could have gone past but for the food. But as there are bins with edible waste, they stop to flock."
Federal authorities in Moscow are sending a team of investigators to look into the situation, AFP reported. So far, they have refused permission to shoot the bears but they have not ruled out a cull.
Polar Bears Could Be Struggling to Catch Enough Prey, Study Shows https://t.co/q0xiaRZ6iP @TheCCoalition @climatecouncil— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1517654105.0
- Construction Begins on Keystone XL Pipeline in Montana - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Approves Keystone XL Pipeline, Groups Vow 'The Fight Is ... ›
- Keystone XL Pipeline Construction to Forge Ahead During ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Monir Ghaedi
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.
European satellites continue to provide data on climate change.
In 2018, a team of researchers went to West Africa's Nimba Mountains in search of one critically endangered species of bat. Along the way, they ended up discovering another.
- Eek! Bat Populations Are Shrinking. Here Are A Few Ways to Help ... ›
- First Bat Removed From U.S. Endangered Species List Helps ... ›
- What We've Lost: The Species Declared Extinct in 2020 - EcoWatch ›
By Jim Palardy
As 2021 dawns, people, ecosystems, and wildlife worldwide are facing a panoply of environmental issues. In an effort to help experts and policymakers determine where they might focus research, a panel of 25 scientists and practitioners — including me — from around the globe held discussions in the fall to identify emerging issues that deserve increased attention.
Ask a Scientist: What Should the Biden Administration and Congress Do to Address the Climate Crisis?
By Elliott Negin
What a difference an election makes. Thanks to the Biden-Harris victory in November, the next administration is poised to make a 180-degree turn to again address the climate crisis.
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
- Joe Biden Appoints Climate Crisis Team - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Plans to Fight Climate Change in a New Way - EcoWatch ›