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. A state of emergency was announced on Saturday, with up to 10 polar bears reportedly on the settlement's territory at any given time. Instead they've offered to send a commission to investigate the situation but have not ruled out a cull.
Polar bears are classified as an endangered species in Russian Federation and shooting them is prohibited by law.
Since December, those living around the area's largest settlement-Belushya Guba, which has a population of about 2,500-have reported seeing at least 52 polar bears.More news: Katy Perry's 'Blackface' Shoes Pulled From Stores Following Outcry
This included "attacks on people and entering residential homes and public buildings", said Minayev, the deputy chief of the local administration.
"I've been on Novaya Zemlya since 1983", he added. The specialists will remove these polar bears from the human settlements after sedating them. "People are scared; they are afraid to leave their homes, daily routines are disrupted, and parents worry about sending their children to school". 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.
It's thought the reason they have moved closer to where people live is because they are searching for food.More news: Juventus confirm Aaron Ramsey agreement
Other footage shows the polar bears feeding on rubbish at a local dump.
The federal environmental resources agency has refused to issue licences to shoot the most aggressive 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". The residents of the island tried to scare off the polar bears using vehicle horns and dogs, but in vain.More news: Signs of strain? China postpones New Zealand tourism campaign