Lone polar bear cases under experts’ control

Lone polar bear cases under experts’ control

1 November 2021

Three lone polar bear cubs have been spotted in the Arctic this autumn.


The first one was seen on Dikson Island not far from populated areas, but the cub looked quite independent and soon ran away from people.


The second bear was spotted near Vankarem in Chukotka. Local activists fed it, but several days later, the cub moved deeper into the Arctic, said Viktor Nikiforov, Director for Environmental Protection at the Tigrus charity foundation.


The third bear was seen near the Kolyma Gulf. Employees of the Nizhnyaya Kolyma Inspectorate of the Yakutian Ministry of the Environment are watching it and leaving fish for it at a safe distance. According to Viktor Nikiforov, the cub is very independent and there are no concerns about its wellbeing.


“Cubs usually leave their mother at the age of 2 or 2.5 years, but this cub is younger. It looks self-sufficient and is in good shape,” Nikiforov said.


All such encounters are discussed by the polar bear working group under the Federal Service for Natural Resources, said Ilya Mordvintsev, lead research fellow at the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the Russian Academy of Sciences.


“There have always been lone bear cubs in the Arctic, but these days, as humans are becoming more active in the polar bears’ habitat and practically every corner has access to the internet, there is more information about such encounters,” he said.


However, it cannot be ruled out that the appearance of lone cubs is due to climate change, Mordvintsev noted. Due to the decreasing ice cover, female bears and their cubs are often forced to stay on the shore where they cannot find food.


“If the mother with a cub stay on the shore when there is no ice and she does not eat sufficiently, she may die or abandon the cub,” he added.


The working group has provided the relevant agencies with recommendations on how to keep polar bears away and on measures to preserve the animals’ lives while ensuring the safety of local residents.


(Photo courtesy of the Russian Arctic National Park Press Service)