Published: Fri, December 06, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Ryrkaypiy: Far-north Russian village overrun by polar bears

Ryrkaypiy: Far-north Russian village overrun by polar bears

Members of the local bear patrol said they spotted 56 bears in a one-kilometre area near the shore.

The animals were "both adult and young. there were females with cubs of different ages", she said, adding that nearly all of them appeared to be thin.

Locals have counted at least 56 bears who arrived at the outskirts of the village of Ryrkaypiy earlier this week, the World Wildlife Fund said in a statement on Thursday.

'There are adult bears, adolescents and mother bears with cubs of different ages'.

Conservationists say climate change could be to blame, with weak coastal ice forcing the bears to search for food in the village rather than at sea.

Residents had gathered walrus carcasses in the area to try to keep the bears from wandering into the village.

"In the absence of ice cover, the animals are forced to go ashore in search of food".

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Two rangers Tatiana Minenko and Maksim Deminov are working around the clock, driving about the village several times at day and night to prevent potential clashes.

"If there is enough ice, the bears would go further north to hunt the seals", Mikhail Stishov, Arctic biodiversity projects coordinator from WWF Russia, said.

The video of the polar bear came from a WhatsApp group for the indigenous people of Chukotka in Russia's Far East, but it's unclear where it was shot.

Children are driven to school and kindergarten and back home in buses.

Locals say that abnormally mild winter weather has led to the polar bear trespass due to the sea not freezing over despite subzero temperatures.

Almost 60 polar bears have been stranded on the Arctic coast near a remote village in Russia's Far East after warm winter weather hampered their hunting routine.

Russia's weather service said temperatures in the region should fall from Saturday and that coastal ice should freeze by December.

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