Efforts underway to rescue polar bear cub in Yakutia

Efforts underway to rescue polar bear cub in Yakutia

22 September 2017

In early September, a stranded polar bear cub approached the village of Sylgy Ytar in the Srednekolymsk district of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).


No female bear was seen around. After playing with local dogs for a while, the bear cub ran away. Environmental inspectors sent from Srednekolymsk also could not find it and first thought that it may have been eaten by brown bears that frequent the area.


However, on 19 September the polar bear cub was seen on the bank of a stream. On 20 September, it was videotaped by a hunter.


On 22 September, residents of the Srednekolymsk district reported the encounters to the Yakutian Environmental Ministry. Head of Inspections Ivan Belonogov set out to the site immediately.


The area is rather remote, almost 200 kilometres down the river from the district centre, but there is hope that the cub will stay close to river. Environmentalists are discussing the possibility of removing the cub from the wild.


The young bear is about nine months and, judging from the video, in good shape. However, it will not be able to survive in the wild alone and will die eventually, believes Viktor Nikiforov, coordinator of nature conservation projects at the Marine Mammals Research and Expedition Centre.


“At 5 am we consulted with experts from the Yakutian Environmental Ministry. Action must be taken fast as the weather in the North is quite volatile. We have a chance to save it. Fortunately, experts from the Yakutian and Moscow zoos are working with us,” Nikiforov said.