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Wanderlust polar bear cub is caught 700 km too far south, and will now go to zoo

By The Siberian Times reporter
02 October 2017

Major operation to safely grab then female from her favourite spot on the Kolyma River a long way from home.

She had taken up residence near a fishing plant on the Kolyma River, where locals fed her on throwaway fish. Picture: Ministry of Nature Protection of Yakutia

The wandering polar bear is estimated at being only nine months old, which makes her adventure all the more extraordinary. 

As we reported earlier, the animal - known to come as Umka but now likely to be renamed - had strayed out of the ice shores of the Arctic Ocean, and headed some 700 kilometres south. 

She had taken up residence near a fishing plant on the Kolyma River, where locals fed her on throwaway fish. 

Earlier it was thought the bear might be aged up to two but she is younger. 

Bear cub with the dog

'The cub is not afraid of people, since the fishermen who found the bear fed her with fish.' Picture: Ministry of Nature Protection of Yakutia

Experts presume she lost her mother for unknown reasons but are genuinely puzzled how she came to be so far away from her natural territory. 

The rescue team was headed by the head of the Central Kolyma Inspectorate for Nature Protection, Ivan Belonogov, who said she would now go to Yakutsk zoo Orto Doidu.

She is too young to be released alone into the wild, and has now had too much contact with people to survive, yet this only adds to the mystery of how she came this far south.

Sedated bear cub


Bear cub transported to Srednekolymsk

The bear was tranquillised before being transported in a cage initially by river to Srednekolymsk. Pictures: Ministry of Nature Protection of Yakutia

'The cub is not afraid of people, since the fishermen who found the bear fed her with fish,' he said. 

'For now the condition of the cub is satisfactory, her appetite is good.'

The bear was tranquillised before being transported in a cage initially by river to Srednekolymsk.

Polar bear on Kolyma


Polar bear on Kolyma


Polar bear on Kolyma


Polar bear on Kolyma

Earlier it was thought the bear might be aged up to two but she is younger. Pictures: Ministry of Nature Protection of Yakutia, Ykt.ru

The rescue was carried out by Nature Protection Inspectorate, the Kolyma Nature Park, the Republican Zoo Orto Doidu, and the Directorate of Biological Resources and the Protected Areas of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Yakutia.

One theory is that her mother was killed by poachers and they took the orphaned cub live with them south from the Arctic coast, releasing her when she got too large. 

But there is no evidence for the fate of the mother. 

Comments (1)

while obvious not an ideal solution, to go to a zoo. but in nature she would not have had much of a chance to stay alive. some silly trophy hunter would have killed her. and sold her fur, bones, fat, meat, whatever people fancy...
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
05/10/2017 12:12
2
1
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