February 16, 2019

State of emergency: Polar bears take over island - CBBC Newsround

13 February 2019, 12:21 | Edward Lowe

Susanne Miller US Fish and Wildlife Service Handout via REUTERS

Susanne Miller  US Fish and Wildlife Service  Handout via REUTERS

The bears prefer ice but also use islands and shorelines to move about the Arctic.

"Residents, schools, and kindergartens are submitting numerous oral and written complaints demanding to ensure safety in the settlement", the statement continued. A state of emergency was announced on Saturday, with up to 10 polar bears reportedly on the settlement's territory at any given time.

Scenes caught on video of polar bears that had come ashore, grunting and strolling through the 2,000-person settlement, suggested a dramatic symbol of climate change. Kindergartens have now installed additional fences around the buildings and employees of various offices and military personnel are now ferried to their workplaces and brought back home on specially arranged vehicles.

Stories careening around the web over the past few days have sounded the alarm about an "invasion" of polar bears on an archipelago at the northern reaches of Russian Federation.

Russian Federation allows limited hunting by far northern indigenous groups.

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Speaking of the emergency declared in the town, Novaya Zemlya head Zhigansha Musin told TASS that the plan will stay in place until it is known that the locals are safe.

With rising temperatures increasingly destroying the bears' Arctic habitats, interactions with humans are becoming more common.

Russian state media reported that the usual methods of scaring the bears away using police sirens, auto horns and dogs are no longer effective, because the animals have become so used to them.

"There were instances of aggression from the wild animals, attacks on people and breaking into living and working quarters", the statement said. "Parents are unwilling to let their children go to school or nursery", he added.

But Mordvintsev, who planned to leave Tuesday for Belushya Guba to more closely study the bears, said more data was needed to determine whether climate change played a role. Models suggest that arctic sea ice is declining at a rate of almost 13 per cent per decade.

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"Polar bears are reliant on seals for food and seals rely on sea ice".

And neither are ill-advised human actions that can lure the bears.

"It is migration from the south to the north".

Such restrictions are meant to prevent just the sort of encounters that are now terrorizing the settlement. "This is an anthropogenic problem".

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