Dozens of polar bears are invading a remote Russian town in the Arctic Circle, after the natural ice caps where they usually live started to melt.
At least 52 bears have attempted to enter homes and offices, chased people down streets, and attacked residents in Belushya Guba, on the island of Novaya Zemlya in Russia’s Archangelsk region, Russian news agency TASS reported.
Residents posted videos and photos of the invasion to social media which show bears wandering through houses, climbing walls, and patrolling roads in packs.
The caption on the photo below reads: “The polar bear is the owner of the archipelago!”
The influx started in December 2018. But in early February, unprecedented numbers arrived. A state of emergency was declared by the Archangelsk regional government on Saturday.
Around 3,000 people live on Novaya Zemlya.
“The emergency situation was caused by the mass invasion of polar bears in residential areas,” governor Igor Orlov said.
Alexander Minayev, the deputy head of Novaya Zemlya, said: “The people are scared. They are frightened to leave homes and their daily routines are broken. Parents are afraid to let the children go to school or kindergarten.”
“Residents, schools and kindergartens are submitting numerous oral and written complaints demanding to ensure safety in the settlement.”