Russian islands declare emergency over polar bear `invasion`

Polar bears have congregated in a Russian Arctic town

Belushya Guba is a settlement of about 2,000 people in Russia's remote Novaya Zemlya archipelago, which is best known for its spooky plankton blooms and apocalyptic nuclear bomb tests.

Russian authorities have so far refused permission to shoot the bears but are sending a commission to investigate the situation and have not ruled out a cull.

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

According to the American newspaper, at least 52 bears were found near Belushya Guba, the main settlement on the island, which is still used as a military garrison.

"People are scared. They are frightened to leave homes, and their daily routines are broken", Minayev said.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has helped set up patrols in some arctic communities to prevent potentially fatal encounters, introducing deterrence tools such as noise making machines, brighter lighting in public spaces, bear-proof food storage containers and safety protocols for when bears do enter communities. "The bear is a curious animal, and it will smell the human food", Mordvintsev said.

"The emergency situation was caused by the mass invasion of polar bears in residential areas", it said.

Russian islands declare emergency over polar bear `invasion`

"I've been on Novaya Zemlya since 1983", he added.

TASS reported that the animals had tried to enter office buildings and residential quarters, and that they had chased residents and engaged in other aggressive behaviour.

It is thought that rising global temperatures have contributed to a reduction in the size of the polar bears' sea-ice habitats, forcing them onto land for longer periods of time. "Parents are unwilling to let their children go to school or nursery". An Instagram user uploaded photos and a video of the hungry bears.

Because polar bears are protected in Russian Federation, residents are prohibited from killing the hungry intruders, The New York Times said.

The Russian agency tasked with protecting natural resources denied a request by local officials to shoot the bears.

The Arkhangelsk regional authorities, which oversee Novaya Zemlya, said that if all else failed "shooting the animals could be the only possible forced measure".

A team of specialists is being flown into Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago with a population of less than 3,000 people, to assist in removing the bears, which have been gathering in populated areas in increasingly large numbers since December, according to local authorities.

Young to make Wales Six Nations debut in Italy
We're two from two and we have a couple of weeks of training before England and this sets us up nicely for that match. Probably part of that is that we didn't have the continuity that we would have if we hadn't made so many changes.

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