Novaya Zemlya, located off Russia’s northeastern arctic coast, has been swarmed by dozens of polar bears since December. The region’s largest settlement, Belushya Guba, with a population of about 2,500 people, has reported more than 50 sightings.
Local administrator Alexander Minayev said bears had attacked people and entered buildings. A state of emergency was announced on Saturday, with up to 10 polar bears reportedly on the settlement’s territory at any given time.
“People are scared. They are frightened to leave homes, and their daily routines are broken,” Minayev said. “Parents are afraid to let the children go to school or kindergarten.”
Climate change effects
“Polar bears are reliant on seals for food and seals rely on sea ice. Global warming is melting the ice so it has a chain reaction on how polar bears can survive,” Liz Greengrass, a director at UK animal conservation charity Born Free Foundation told CNN in 2018.