Nenets Autonomous Area residents prepare for polar bear migration season

Nenets Autonomous Area residents prepare for polar bear migration season

6 April 2016

Experts from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia and the Environmental Management and Protection Centre of the Nenets Autonomous Area visited the villages of Amderma and Ust-Kara to make sure the locals are ready for the upcoming polar bear migration season.


At the meetings with the Arctic village residents, Viktor Nikiforov, head of the WWF Russia’s Polar Bear Patrol, suggested using the extensive experience of the Chukotka Territory, where 30 to 50 bears come to the coastal village of Ryrkaypy every November-December. Local volunteers form groups of three to patrol the territory and chase away polar bears using snowmobiles and special equipment.


It is important to chase away bears as soon as possible. If a bear realises that there is food in a village, scaring it away will be much harder. To do so, each village must have an alert system in place, and the locals must operate the proper equipment and use the proper techniques. According to the area’s press service, the Amderma authorities have already acquired a sound alarm system and will install it soon.


"It is necessary to understand that effective resolution of conflicts between humans and polar bears calls for strong local teams,” said Igor Kislyakov, deputy head of the Nenets Environmental Management and Protection Centre. “A special group  will fly in from Naryan-Mar only in emergencies, when chasing away a bear is impossible using local forces, and a bear becomes a threat to residents."


A working group to prevent conflicts between humans and polar bears was created in this area in February at the initiative of Governor Igor Koshin. It includes employees of the Environmental Protection Centre and the area’s Department of Nature Resources and Agro-Industrial Complex, as well as heads of the coastal municipalities, WWF experts, border guards and Emergencies Ministry employees.


(Photo © Sergei Terekhov)