Alarm in Russian Artic Archipelago For "Invasion" Of Polar Bears

Polar bears are affected by global warming with melting Arctic ice forcing them to spend more time on land where they compete for food

An emergency has been declared on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in Russia's Arkhangelsk region.

The authorities arranged transportation for the safe passage of children to and from kindergartens and of troops to and from military garrisons, he added. They are frightened to leave homes and their daily routines are broken.

"Parents are wary of letting children go to schools and kindergartens", he said.

Authorities in the Novaya Zemlya islands, home to a few thousand people, said there were cases of bears attacking people and entering residential and public buildings.

According to the scientist, so many polar bears have never been spotted in that area.

The deputy head of the local administration, Aleksandr Minayev, said since December about 50 polar bears regularly have been in the area where around 3 000 people live, reports the New York Post.

"I've been on Novaya Zemlya since 1983", he said in an official press release.

The bears "literally chase people" and make their way into the entrances of apartment buildings, another official was cited by the Daily Mail as saying.

Resident Anastasia Bondarenko has moved out but she said the bears were no longer threatened by humans. A state of emergency was announced on Saturday, with up to 10 polar bears reportedly on the settlement's territory at any given time.

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

Polar bears are affected by climate change and are increasingly forced on to land to look for food.

"Unlike previous years, they come ashore in the southern part of the archipelago, where the ice is changing. They migrate through Novaya Zemlya heading north, where the ice is solid", Mordvintsev said. They are staying in that location [near Belushya Guba] because there is some alternative food. "They normally would just go past, but [they are attracted] by the food". "But as there are bins with edible waste, they stop to flock".

The bears had no fear of signals used to scare them off as well as of patrol cars and dogs.

According to TASS, local authorities have installed extra fences near school grounds, employees and military personnel are riding "special vehicles" to work, and patrols have been stepped up, but these measures "yielded no tangible result".

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