More cases of polar bears entering towns

More cases of polar bears entering towns

20 November 2014

The number of polar bear encounters reported by locals in the Nenets Autonomous Area on Russia’s Arctic coast has been rising since November. Hunters and reindeer breeders have repeatedly spotted polar bears on Vaygach Island. Bears have been seen near the airport and in Amderma, right in the town centre.


For several days, a young polar bear has been interfering with work at a drilling rig east of the oil town of Varandey.


“We are in contact with Rosprirodnadzor [Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources] representatives in the Nenets Autonomous Area,” said Viktor Nikiforov, head of the WWF Polar Bear Patrol programme. “Unfortunately, the team that works in the area where encounters with polar bears are more common lacks the proper means of scaring away the predators. In August, our experts created a poster informing people how they should behave if they encounter a polar bear by chance for their own protection and for the animal’s. With young bears, a helicopter combined with flares would be the best solution. This method would also strongly discourage a young animal from approaching humans in the future.”


A helicopter operation is being planned with the help of the local administration. The crew will include Rosprirodnadzor employees and local police armed with rubber bullets to drive the bear away.


(Photo © Ruslan Sleptsov)