Russian islands declare emergency over polar bear `invasion`

Russian islands declare emergency over polar bear `invasion`

Russian islands declare emergency over polar bear `invasion`

Russian authorities have deployed a team of specialists to the remote Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic region to sedate and remove dozens of hungry polar bears that have been chasing people in the area, The Guardian reported on Monday.

Belushya Guba is a settlement of about 2,000 people in Russia's remote Novaya Zemlya archipelago, which is best known for its spooky plankton blooms and apocalyptic nuclear bomb tests. Instead they've offered to send a commission to investigate the situation but have not ruled out a cull.

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".

Some video footage from the islands show the polar bears feeding on rubbish at a local dump.

However, thinning sea ice caused by global warming likely drove the bears inland in search of more readily available meals, researchers from Moscow's A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, a branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told TASS.

The accumulation of polar bears around human settlements has been observed since December.

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

Local administrator Alexander Minayev said bears had attacked people and entered buildings. "Constantly in the village are from six to 10 polar bears".

"People are scared. They are frightened to leave homes, and their daily routines are broken", Minayev said.

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. However, the authorities decided not to shoot the predators, even most aggressive ones.

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.

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