Polar bears invading a Russian town has taken social media by storm. Videos of the fluffy white bears wandering around the town of Belushya Guba, Russia are being spread over the internet.
Around 50 bears have been spotted in Russian towns as they move away from their melting homes in search of food as the sea ice decreases. The polar bears use the sea ice to hunt their food, like seals. However, the ice has not formed in certain parts of Russia, leaving the bears to find other sources of food.
Russian scientists still don’t know if climate change is the reason for the sudden movement of the bears or if there is another cause.
One Russian expert on polar bears, Ilya N. Mordvintsev from the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, said the lack of sea ice was most likely the cause, but the sea ice moves around often and the bears can use other means of hunting their usual foods.
The abundance of trash has drawn the bears to the islands of Novaya Zemlya. In some of the videos the bears can be seen digging in the garbage for food.
The town the bears are invading disregarded strict rules about the disposal of their garbage. Said rules were put in place to keep the animals away from the human settlement.
The town is along the path of normal migration for the animals, so when they smelled the human food they went straight for it.
A mammal scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Anatoly Kochnev, says that the bears will keep coming back to where they have previously found food. They will remember where they got food in the past and will keep returning to those spot for years to come.
Kochnev advises Russia to do what Canada did to get rid of the polar bear problem: get rid of the trash.
In 2006, polar bears went into Churchill, Canada in search of food. Canada began new policies for garbage disposal to get rid of the bears, and it worked. They started putting their garbage in underground facilities to deter the animals.
This is just one of the options Russia is thinking about. Russian Officials say that they are prepared to sedate and transport the bears away from the towns.
Russian Officials have always warned people against shooting the bears, as they are still an endangered species and killing them is illegal.
Residents of the town say they are scared because the bears have been breaking into their homes and workplaces and have even been a little aggressive towards people.
The residents’ daily lives have been interrupted by the bears, some opting to stay home where they are safe instead of taking the risk to venture outside.
Since the number of bears is the highest they have seen and the animals have been invading populated areas of the country, Russia has declared a state of emergency to protect its citizens and come up with a solution to their polar bear problem.