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Caught! The Norilsk polar bear needs urgent medical help, say experts

By Svetlana Skarbo
20 June 2019

A worrying new claim suggests the animal could have been grown indoors for pelt trade.

The bear could have been picked up as a cub and raised INDOORS by poachers for future pelt trade. Picture: Royev Ruchei

The polar bear that has been wandering for four days around Russia’s nickel capital Norilsk was sedated and caught today by specialists of the Royev Ruchei zoo. 

Russian Federal Nature watchdog RosPrirodNadzor gave permission to seize the endangered animal. 

The young female will be flown to Krasnoyarsk tomorrow, on 21 June, where she will spend several days in quarantine. 

The bear suffers from strong diarrhea after feeding herself on rotten food from local rubbish dumps, said Royev Ruchei experts. 

‘This is a dangerous state for the animal, she needs urgent medical treatment’ explained vet Georgy Belyanin who was involved in sedating the bear.  

‘This is definitely a female. It was obvious from the first moment we saw her that she was very stressed due to being in the city and surrounded by so many people’, he said. 

Caught! The Norilsk polar bear needs urgent medical help, say experts


Caught! The Norilsk polar bear needs urgent medical help, say experts


Caught! The Norilsk polar bear needs urgent medical help, say experts


Caught! The Norilsk polar bear needs urgent medical help, say experts
Until now the 'wanderlust' bear - which first appeared in Norilsk on Sunday - was assumed to have taken the wrong turn on the Arctic Ocean coast and headed inland. Pictures: Royev Ruchei


When the bear first appeared in the outskirts of Norilsk - first case of polar bears seen so far south since 1978! - many wondered how could an animal walk unnoticed for such a long distance.

Now one of the versions suggested by Kranosyarsk Royev Ruchei specialists might lead to a more worrying story.

The bear could have been picked up as a cub and raised INDOORS by poachers for future pelt trade, one version suggests. 

There is a number of reasons to doubt that the bear walked to Norilsk by herself, said Royev Ruchei experts. Instead, it could have been living in the city all this time to be sold later either alive, or as a pelt. 

‘Usually it is male, not female polar bears that set off for long-distance travels. 

‘The state of this bear’s pelt showed no sign of her walking for days on territory without water bodies, she is too clean for that. 

‘Last year a more severe punishment was introduced for polar bear poaching, which could be the reason why whoever kept the bear released it’, said Krasnoyarsk Royev Ruchei specialists. 

Caught! The Norilsk polar bear needs urgent medical help, say experts


Caught! The Norilsk polar bear needs urgent medical help, say experts


Caught! The Norilsk polar bear needs urgent medical help, say experts


Caught! The Norilsk polar bear needs urgent medical help, say experts
There is a number of reasons to doubt that the bear walked to Norilsk by herself, said Royev Ruchei experts. Instead, it could have been living in the city all this time to be sold later either alive, or as a pelt. Pictures: Royev Ruchei


The bear is expected to arrive at the zoo tomorrow. 

‘She is now isolated from unnecessary attention,” said one of the vets.

The move to take the young animal to the zoo was criticized by polar bears expert Viktor Nikiforov.

‘It is very strange how the polar bear is being rescued. Instead of delivering the young animal to the Kara Sea coast, they are taking it in the opposite direction to Krasnoyarsk to the zoo', he said. 

Until now the 'wanderlust' bear - which first appeared in Norilsk on Sunday - was assumed to have taken the wrong turn on the Arctic Ocean coast and headed inland. 

The animal became a local celebrity in Norilsk with an army of selfie-hunters converging on places the beast was sighted.

Parents were reprimanded  for taking their children too close to the predator.


Comments (9)

Thank you for helping this poor animal. I would really love to see pictures of the bear post recovery. Thoughts and hugs from the opposite end of the world.
Claire, Virginia, United States
23/06/2019 10:36
7
0
Thank you to everyone involved indeed and thank you to everyone for very thoughtful and kind comments. I hope the perpetrators are brought to justice and this bear as well as any remaining bears in the wrong hands are able to recover and be safe.
Pamela K Tetarenko, United States
22/06/2019 21:16
5
0
Thank you for looking after this beautiful bear .. do hope it survives !... thanks to everybody who has helped
Noel Anderson , Australia
22/06/2019 15:39
8
0
¿An expert unhappy cause the bear was taken to a safe place to be looked after instead of returning her to the wild? Can anybody be that naive? In such condition she would never survive.
heriberto, cdmx mexico
21/06/2019 21:12
9
0
Nice the bear would be now taken care. Hope it is released in its habitat soon.
Nadeem Athani, Pune India
21/06/2019 15:04
9
0
Please please take care of this bear. The human effect on the natural world is worse than shameful so we must protect whatever we have been destroying either intentionally or not. Surely it is time that governments dedicate resources to reverse the damage to the natural ecology system and protect it more forcefully instead of making it fend for itself in an environment that has been distorted by the decisions of humans.
Jennifer, Australia
21/06/2019 04:37
14
1
Thank you to Russia for helping this bear and not just killing it! In the U.S., they often just put animals down when they come into human territory. I really appreciate your response to this situation.
Lisa, Portland, OR USA
21/06/2019 03:32
12
5
I have been following this sad case, since you first posted it and am thankful that the Russian Authorities gave permission for the zoo to capture, transport and start rehabilitating it.

While it is unlikely that the perpetrators are caught, if indeed it was poached, I hope the relevant authorities will do the maximum to find them.

My partner is Siberian, now Ukrainian but always Siberian and originally from Yekaterinburg and we hope to return there, when relations between Russia and Ukraine normalise but in the meantime, I follow your splendid publication and especially the photographs and articles, with great interest and I thank you for them.

Sincerely,

David
David Mann, Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast, Ukraine
20/06/2019 18:49
16
0
suppose there is nothing -humans - will not do for money!
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
20/06/2019 18:10
8
0
1

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