Polar bears keep roaming close to a Chukchi village

Polar bears keep roaming close to a Chukchi village

10 December 2019

Sixty polar bears are roaming near the Chukchi village of Ryrkaipy, unable to leave the area because of the warmer than usual weather and lack of ice on the coast.


Special patrols keep watch over the village round the clock, and there are guards on duty outside the local kindergarten and school. All public activities in the village have been cancelled.


Roman Kopin, head of the Chukotka Autonomous Area, said the village would be supplied with polar bear deterrents and there were plans to reinforce the patrols.


“We are ready to supply the village with blanks, flare cartridges and special spray,” Kopin wrote on his Instagram account.  “We are prepared to provide more equipment and fuel. We’re considering sending police, game management experts and volunteers from Egvekinot to strengthen the ‘Ryrkaipy garrison.’”  


Ryrkaipy is an indigenous Chukchi village in the Iultinsky District. It is located near Cape Kozhevnikov, which is believed to be a polar bear haunt: due to global warming, almost every year in autumn since 2007, the area has turned into the westernmost rookery of Pacific walruses, which sometimes number tens of thousands. Drawn to the animals, polar bears can remain in the area for a long time.

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