Polar bears unusually active on Yakutia’s coast

Polar bears unusually active on Yakutia’s coast

10 October 2016

This year’s autumn has been unusual on the East Siberian Sea’s coast, for the cold has not come yet and reindeer herders from several communities have reported polar bears coming deep into the tundra – 40-60 kilometres inland. It has been many years since such reports have been heard. The polar bears disturb people and frighten the reindeer. The last such case occurred in late September, when a large male polar bear appeared in the Nutendli community’s settlement.  


Inspectors from the Nizhnekolymskaya nature protection office headed out in motorboats to protect and monitor the polar bears. It usually takes two days to travel from the village of Pokhodsk, but a boat’s motor gave out on this trip and they had to tow the boat the final 20 kilometres. The inspectors arrived at the Krestovaya ridge on the Kolyma Gulf’s western coast on 25 September.    


A large polar bear turned up at the inspectors’ hut that night. They tried to drive it away, but it barely reacted to shots fired in the air or to shipping signals (the inspectors are trying out boats’ sirens as means of driving the bears away). The bear was not aggressive and left when morning came.


Bears appeared nearly every day at the start of October. They did not approach the inspectors’ base but headed east.


“The polar bears’ forays deep into the tundra disturb the reindeer herders,” said polar bear expert Viktor Nikiforov. “We need to give people help in showing them what to do and make sure they have equipment for driving the bears away and protecting themselves.”  


(Photo © Yury Denisov)