Helicopter pilots save polar bear cub

Helicopter pilots save polar bear cub

1 October 2014

The crew of a Russian Mil Mi-26 military transport helicopter has saved a polar bear cub in the Arctic.


“While flying a routine resupply mission from Anadyr to Wrangel Island, the helicopter crew sighted a polar bear dashing back and forth along the coast. After overflying the territory, the crew failed to locate the cub’s mother and decided to land and rescue the animal,” said Colonel Alexander Gordeyev, head of the Press Service of the Eastern Military District.


The rather haggard and hungry-looking little bear reacted calmly to humans, did not try to escape and ate heated cereal from the pilots’ K-rations. They called the little predator Umka (after a polar bear cub from the famous Soviet-era “Umka” animated cartoon) and took him to a nature reserve on Wrangel Island.


“Female polar bears never abandon their children,” said Viktor Nikiforov, head of the Polar Bear Patrol programme. “The mother could have perished, or the cub could have lost his way in a blizzard,” he noted. “Unfortunately, it is impossible to return him to the wild because polar bear cubs learn how to hunt and survive in the harsh Arctic environment from their mothers alone.” According to Mr Nikiforov, the little bear will be delivered to a zoo, after receiving special permits from the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor) that protects animals listed in the Russian Red Data Book.


(Photo © Fyodor Yakovlev)

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