A remote Russian archipelago has been invaded by dozens of polar bears which led to the declaration of “state of emergency” by the authorities on Saturday, country’s state news agency said.
A local official named Alexander Minayev caught a glimpse of 52 polar bears between December and February near Belushya Guba, a settlement on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean as reported by the TASS news agency.
The bears, which seemed to be unfrightened by the dogs, have already attacked communities, as well as, injured people as they entered residential lots and buildings, the agency added.
“The people are scared. They are frightened to leave homes, and their daily routines are broken. Parents are afraid to let the children go to school or kindergarten” the regional government said in a statement, according to TASS.
Teachers from kindergartens and schools submitted numerous oral and written complaints asking local government bodies to ensure the safety of the area. The authorities were still planning a better solution to prevent further injuries or before someone’s life will be taken.
For the meantime, houses and schools were advised to build additional fencing around their respective areas to maximize safety precautions. Whereas, the local government units, already set up patrol vehicles to observe and roam around the city.
Since the country’s environmental watchdog had denied licenses allowing the killing of aggressive bears, they would deploy experts instead of to Novaya Zemlya to assess and evaluate the bears’ behavior, according to TASS.
So far, there were no reports yet indicating the possible reasons for the attack or the invasion of bears to residential areas. However according to the conservation group “Polar Bears International,” attacks on humans by these animals are rare.
The group also emphasized that due to climate change, where sea ice is melting rapidly and unexpectedly, some polar bears are probably to spend more time ashore. Others would roam around to find food and a much colder place.
So far, there are 26,000 estimated population of polar bears worldwide. These animals were considered as “threats” to U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in 2008 amidst concerns about climate change and habitat reductions.