Polar bears take a liking to Ryrkaipiy village

Polar bears take a liking to Ryrkaipiy village

22 December 2014

There have been more polar bear sightings near the Arctic coastal villages of Chukotka. In recent days, a young female bear was seen walking down the central street in the village of Billings at night, and a thin adult male had to be chased off with a snowmobile.


The situation is especially tense in the village of Ryrkaipiy 200 km from Billings, where a total of 14 polar bears appeared after a snowstorm. Specialists of WWF Russia’s Polar Bear Patrol have the situation under control. Most of the bears are congregating now around Kozhevnikov Cape, 700 m from the village, where the Polar Bear Patrol placed bodies of dead walruses in the autumn. One young bear made several attempts to enter the village but was chased away.


According to Tatyana Minenko, Polar Bear Patrol coordinator for Ryrkaipiy, on 19 December locals requested that the patrol drive off three polar bears near a school. “We rushed over on snowmobiles but found no bears around the school. But 700 m away, we spotted a female bear with cubs eating a walrus carcass,” Minenko said. As the female bear and cubs were thin, the responders let them stay and eat, and stepped up monitoring of the area.


“Member of our patrol team have been preparing for the polar bears to come,” said Viktor Nikiforov, head of the WWF Russia’s Polar Bear Patrol programme. “We provided our partners with fuel and equipment, and recently we gave them rubber bullets and flare guns to chase the polar bears off.”


(Photo © Maxim Deminov)