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'The people are scared': Polar bears move in on Russian Arctic settlements

'The people are scared': Polar bears move in on Russian Arctic settlements

Local administrator Alexander Minayev said bears had attacked people and entered buildings.

The deputy chief of the local administration says there have been attacks already.

At least five maritime bears were spotted on a local military garrison, "literally chasing people" and entering residential buildings, he said in a translated press release.

"People are scared, afraid to leave the house, their daily activities are disrupted, and parents are afraid to let their children go to schools and kindergartens", said Aleksandr Minayev, deputy head of the administration of the Novaya Zemlya Municipal Educational Institution.

Russian Federation classes them as endangered.

Though the animals are considered endangered by Russian Federation (the IUCN Red List classifies them as "vulnerable," with a decreasing population), officials said that if non-lethal means fail to drive the bears away, they may be forced to cull the animals, the BBC added.

Teachers have expressed concern over the safety of schoolchildren during the bear invasion.

Polar bears recently invaded human settlements in Russian Federation and started attacking people.

Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Nature Management has refused to issue licenses to shoot the most aggressive of the lot.




The species are endangered and instead, a team of specialists has been dispatched to the outpost to give advice to residents on other measures to discourage the bears.

Attempts to drive them away using patrol cars and dogs have been futile, according to officials.

Melting Arctic ice has increasingly caused them to migrate further south in search of food on land.

Officials said it is hoped that firearms will not be needed to drive the bears away, but they cautioned that culling of the animals can not be ruled out. This sometimes puts them at odds with humans.

Novaya Zemlya, located off Russia's northeastern arctic coast, has been swarmed by dozens of polar bears since December.

Station head Vadim Plotnikov was cited as saying that 10 adult bears and four cubs had surrounded the station.

Reports posted online speak of a "bear siege".

Vassiliy Shevchenko, who works for the state monitoring network that owns the weather station, told the BBC that the requested supplies had been sent in by helicopter.

Global warming has forced polar bears to spend more time on land where they compete for food.