Saturday 15 December 2018

Arctic village in fear of invasion by polar bears

At least six bears near Dikson, the most northern community in Russia, have kept its 500 or so residents
At least six bears near Dikson, the most northern community in Russia, have kept its 500 or so residents "gripped with fear" whenever they venture outside, Russian state television reported (stock picture)

Alec Luhn

A coastal town in the Russian Arctic has been "besieged" by hungry polar bears that are spending more time on land as the sea ice melts due to climate change.

At least six bears near Dikson, the most northern community in Russia, have kept its 500 or so residents "gripped with fear" whenever they venture outside, Russian state television reported.

Mobile phone footage has captured several terrifying confrontations with the world's largest land-based predator, which can weigh 600kgs or more and run at speeds of up to 40kmh.

The town will remain at risk until the bears go back out on the sea ice, which is not expected to form until mid-November, experts told 'The Daily Telegraph'.

This week a young bear had to be captured and sent to a zoo in the regional centre of Krasnoyarsk after it began regularly roaming the streets and nosing around homes.

One man was forced to face down a bear after it chased him over a low cement wall. The creature walked up to him and began nuzzling his leg before being scared off by a gunshot.

The bears have been searching for open rubbish bins.

"Naturally, when [a polar bear] finds a place where household rubbish builds up, he marks it as his territory and tries to defend this territory," said Alexander Korobkin, deputy natural resources minister of the region.

Irish Independent

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