Too much to bear

Rus­sian vil­lage is over­run by beasts

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY DANIELLE CINONE

Talk about a po­lar vortex.

Po­lar bears have moved into res­i­den­tial areas of a vil­lage off Rus­sia’s north­east­ern Arc­tic coast — prompt­ing a state of emer­gency.

The ar­chi­pel­ago No­vaya Zemlya, an area once used for nu­clear test­ing, has seen at least 50 po­lar bears from De­cem­ber through this month, ac­cord­ing to TASS Rus­sian News Agency.

An “emer­gency sit­u­a­tion” was de­clared on Satur­day af­ter the an­i­mals were re­port­edly ag­gres­sive and started to en­ter res­i­den­tial build­ings and of­fices. “Res­i­dents, schools and kinder­gartens are sub­mit­ting nu­mer­ous oral and writ­ten com­plaints de­mand­ing to en­sure safety in the set­tle­ment. The peo­ple are scared,” No­vaya Zemlya’s deputy head, Alexan­der Mi­nayev, said in state­ment. “They are fright­ened to leave homes and their daily rou­tines are bro­ken. Par­ents are afraid to let the chil­dren go to school or kinder­garten.” Res­i­dents are not only scared, they are un­able to de­fend them­selves. Po­lar bears are not al­lowed to be shot, as they are con­sid­ered an en­dan­gered species in Rus­sia.

How­ever, if dan­ger per­sists, of­fi­cials may con­sider culling — killing the an­i­mals in a large quan­tity.

“There has never been so many po­lar bears in the vicin­ity. I re­call that over five po­lar bears are in the [mil­i­tary] gar­ri­son chas­ing peo­ple and en­ter­ing res­i­den­tial build­ings. How­ever, if a cull is banned, we will have to em­bark on a longer and less safe way for lo­cal res­i­dents,” said Zhi­gan­sha Musin, the top No­vaya Zemlya of­fi­cial, who has been liv­ing in the ar­chi­pel­ago since 1983.

"A to­tal of 50 po­lar bears are near the hu­man set­tle­ments so we have loads of work ahead.”

The rea­son­ing be­hind the po­lar bears’ change of lo­ca­tion is melt­ing sea ice.

“Global warm­ing is melt­ing the ice so it has a chain re­ac­tion on how po­lar bears can sur­vive,” U.K. an­i­mal con­ser­va­tion char­ity di­rec­tor Liz Green­grass told CNN last year.

Po­lar bears in­vade vil­lage of No­vaya Zemlya — on Rus­sia’s north­east­ern Arc­tic coast — prompt­ing a state of emer­gency.

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