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Russian region declares emergency over polar bear "invasion"

Russian region declares emergency over polar bear

In what is being called a outcome of climate change, more than 50 polar bears have invaded a Russian settlement in the Arctic, forcing terrified residents to stay in their homes, according to news reports.

Officials declared a state of emergency on Saturday after reports of bears attacking people and entering homes, CNN said.

Shooting or killing polar bears is prohibited by the Russian government - however, culling the most aggressive bears might become "the only and necessary measure to ensure safety" in Belushya Guba if an alternative isn't found quickly, the government statement said.

The people who live on the island have been trying to scare them off. "I've been on Novaya Zemlya since 1983", local administration head Vigansha Musin told The Siberian Times.

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.

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"Global warming is melting the ice so it has a chain reaction on how polar bears can survive", Liz Greengrass, a director at United Kingdom animal conservation charity Born Free Foundation told CNN in 2018.

Russia's northeastern Novaya Zemlya archipelago, which has a population of around 3,000 people, has appealed for help to tackle "a mass invasion of polar bears into inhabited areas", regional authorities said in a statement.

The settlement put up additional fencing around schools and arranged for children to be driven to and from class.

"People are scared, they are afraid to leave their homes. parents are frightened to let their children go to schools and kindergartens". Polar bears migrate seasonally along the coastlines of Novaya Zemlya, he said, with the timing of their movements and concentrations dependent on sea ice conditions. Attempts to scare off the polar bears using vehicle horns and dogs have all failed, the Tass news agency said.