State of emergency over polar bear ‘invasion’ lifted from Russian Arctic settlement

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© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS

ARKHANGELSK, February 19./TASS/. A state of emergency imposed on Russia’s Novaya Zemlya archipelago after dozens of polar bears had besieged it, was lifted on Tuesday, head of the Novaya Zemlya administration Zhigansha Musin told TASS.

On February 9, the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, located in the Arctic Ocean in the Arkhangelsk Region in Russia’s North, declared a state of emergency after dozens of polar bears had ‘invaded’ local settlements. At least 52 polar bears were spotted near the settlement of Belushya Guba, some of them acting aggressively or breaking into homes and offices.

Experts site climate changes, seasonal migration and open dumps as the possible reasons behind the ‘invasion’

“The state of emergency was lifted on Novaya Zemlya as of 00:00 on February 19, as the numbers of bears have thinned out – some 2-3 are seen in the distance. The danger has been minimized,” Musin said.

He said all measures are taken to control the situation, including “round-the-clock patrolling and monitoring, as well as control over the dump sites”.

A group of scientists and experts was airlifted to the archipelago on February 14 to deal with the problem. Tranquilizing the animals and attaching devices to them to track their migration was considered.

Musin told TASS on Monday that the bears had left once ice had amassed, and also due to the activity of a group that was chasing the bears away from local settlements.

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