Russian region declares emergency over polar bear "invasion"

Russian islands declare emergency over polar bear `invasion`

The Russian town of Novaya Zemlya located on the north-eastern Arctic coast has declared an emergency over an "invasion" of dozens of aggressive polar bears that have entered homes and public buildings.

"The decision to declare an emergency situation on the territory of Novaya Zemlya from February 9 was taken at a meeting of the commission tasked to prevent emergencies and ensure fire safety", said a statement from the regional government released on Saturday.

The video was filmed on January 21 but emerged online recently after news about a "polar bear evasion" grabbed headlines in Russian Federation.

The government chose to send specialists on the islands after officials in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, with a population of about 3,000 people, sought help. "Parents are unwilling to let their children go to school or nursery".

Although Russia classifies polar bears as endangered species and bans their killing, regional authorities reportedly entertained the idea of shooting down the animals as "the only possible forced measure". "A total of 50 polar bears are near the human settlements so we have loads of work ahead".

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The head of the local administration Zhigansha Musin said that the numbers of polar bears were unprecedented.

Local officials complained that measures to scare off polar bears such as vehicle and dog patrols have not been effective as polar bears feel secure and no longer react. The officials, however, added that this would be done only after all attempts to remove the animals from island fail to yield positive results.

In 2016, five Russian scientists were besieged by polar bears for almost two weeks at a remote weather station on Troynoy Island, east of Novaya Zemlya.

The worrying migration of bears began late a year ago when the animals started to flock to the settlements of Novaya Zemlya en masse, seeking food at local dumps and harassing residents and their pets.

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