Polar Bears Are Taking Over This Town And People Don't Know What To Do
“There’s never been such a mass invasion of polar bears."
Some rather shocking visitors just arrived on an island that is home to over 3,000 people: Dozens of hungry polar bears have been sighted scrambling for food among apartment buildings, playgrounds and garbage dumps.
“There’s never been such a mass invasion of polar bears," Zhigansha Musin, head of the local administration, told The Guardian.
The polar bears didn't seem to be scared off by the sounds of horns or barking dogs, and the local government of Belushya Guba, a town on the Russian archipelago of Novaya Zemlya, has declared a state of emergency.
Experts have been deployed to try to stun and relocate the bears farther away from people. There have been 52 bears spotted so far, an unprecedented number so close to human developments.
Parents are keeping their kids home from school and people are afraid to go outside because of the close proximity of the hungry bears.
Because ice in the Arctic is melting rapidly, it has become more common for polar bears to get cut off from food sources, so they have to try to travel farther and farther to find their meals.
"Polar bears should not be wandering into human habitation, and certainly not in these numbers," Jonathan Watts wrote in The Guardian. "The Arctic [is] heating twice as fast as the rest of the planet, winter temperatures are rising and the sea ice — which is the primary habitat of polar bears — is shrinking."
In 2018, a U.S. government agency report found that the Arctic experienced the "second-warmest air temperatures ever recorded and the second-lowest overall sea-ice coverage." This means that mass invasions of polar bears could be more and more common in the future.
If people don't try to preserve polar bear habitat in the Arctic by finding ways to slow human impact on the climate, scientists predict that wild polar bears could be wiped out by 2100, according to Polar Bears International.