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Emaciated polar bear rescued from garbage dump in Arctic maybe ‘lost sister’ of orphaned Ursula

By Natasha Kobets
23 June 2019

DNA test to check if female bear is missing cub from a mother slain by poachers in Dikson, Russia’s most northerly port.

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

The extraordinary story of the polar bear found in industrial city Norilsk - hundreds of kilometres from the Arctic coastline - has taken a new twist. 

Now experts believe the 'wanderlust' animal maybe the sister of orphaned Ursula, rescued from Dikson in October last year when hungry polar bears besieged the northern port. 

Experts in Krasnoyarsk - where the lost and so far unnamed bear was flown for rehabilitation - are to carry out a DNA test to ascertain if their suspicions are true which could pave the way for a reunion.

Ursula is now in the same zoo, and a video shows her frolicking in a pool. 

Ursula the bear frolicking in water. Video by Royev Ruchei

Our reports in the past week or so on the lost polar bear in Norilsk were viewed and followed up by media all around the world. 

The bear may have walked hundreds or even thousands of kilometres to Russia’s nickel capital, it was suspected.

After sedation, the beast was moved by a Boeing-737 Nordstar Airlines passenger flight to Krasnoyarsk, where she was put into quarantine at Royev Ruchei zoo.A positive DNA test could be followed by a sisterly reunion of the orphaned cubs. 

Polar bear prepares to the trip to Krasnoyarsk


Polar bear prepares to the trip to Krasnoyarsk


Polar bear prepares to the trip to Krasnoyarsk


Polar bear prepares to the trip to Krasnoyarsk

After sedation, the beast was moved by a Boeing-737 Nordstar Airlines passenger flight to Krasnoyarsk. Pictures: Enisey TV

But first she needs to recover from a mysterious ordeal in which she may have trekked hundreds of kilometres to reach Norilsk. 

The bear has been found to be suffering from ‘extreme malnutrition’, weighing 100 kilograms, or one and a half time less than she should. 

A recovery programme is underway for the bear. 

But experts also suspect that she has previously lived in captivity - possibly after being caught by poachers. 

They believe the bear is familiar with being caged. 

Last year when Ursula was caught she was put into the same quarantine cage, said zoo director Andrey Gorban.

‘As soon as a worker approached the enclosure, she began to roar and prepared to defend herself,’ he said. 

‘Wild animals often chew the bars of the cage and may even break their teeth. 

'But the female bear from Norilsk behaves in a completely different way. She is not afraid of people at all. She does not feel negative about the cage.’

Observers in Norilsk had also noticed that the bear did not seek to attack people who came very close taking selfies of the surprise visitor. 

Polar bear in Krasnoyarsk zoo


Polar bear in Krasnoyarsk zoo


Polar bear in Krasnoyarsk zoo


Polar bear in Krasnoyarsk zoo


Polar bear in Krasnoyarsk zoo

The bear has been found to be suffering from ‘extreme malnutrition’, weighing 100 kilograms, or one and a half time less than she should. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Royev Ruchei Zoo

One theory is poachers raised the bear but then released it fearing tough new punishments under Russian laws. 

But one polar bear expert has criticised the way the bear has been taken to Krasnoyarsk rather than released back into the Arctic. 

‘In the photographs I see a beast with properly developed muscles,’ said zoologist Nikita Ovsyannikov.

‘A polar bear who grew from a cub under lock and key cannot look like this.

'It is not clear what disease was discovered by the experts. 

‘Ideas expressed by those anonymous experts that only male bears may travel that far are not accurate. 

'Cases when both male and female polar bears travelled for hundreds of kilometres deep into the continent take place although rarely.’

This has happened both in Russia and North America, he said. 

‘Due to global warming and ice melting, the frequency of such journeys will naturally increase.’

A long incursion inland from the Arctic coast should not be seen as a surprise, he said. 

People stand too close to the bear


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


norilsk bear


norilsk bear


norilsk bear


Bear in the city


Bear in the city

‘A polar bear who grew from a cub under lock and key cannot look like this.' Pictures: Zapolyarnaya Pravda, Severny Gorod TV

‘If the ‘experts’ discovered serious diseases, why don’t they give information what exactly they are? 

‘What are the grounds for a such a conclusion? 

‘This female bear must be returned to the Arctic. 

‘If she does require medical treatment, she should be treated and later released to the wild. She is a normal wild beast, physically well developed.’

Comments (3)

Ciekawe jak tam sie teraz czuje niedzwiedzica polarna czy juz zostala zbadana przez lekarzy weterynarii czy juz zostala odzywiona pokarmem czyli lakociami specjalnymi dla bialych niedzwiadkow polarnych. Niedzwiedzica przeszla 1500 km do Norylska. Byla wycienczona z glodu bo dlugo nic nie zjadla w drodze do Norylska gdy szla 1509 km nic do zjedzenia po drodze nie znalazla. Szkoda mi tej biednej polarnej niedzwiedzicy ktora oslabiona z glodu trafila do Norylska za poszukiwaniem cos smacznego do zjedzenia. Misia polarna umieszczona jest w zamalej klatce i ma tam zaciasno. Mysle ze Misia polarna ma dobra opieke i napewno wyzdrowieje jak najszybciej i wroci do sil i juz niedlugo przewioza ja tam skad przyszla.
Felusia, Polska
08/07/2019 03:41
1
0
Szkoda mi tej biednej pożarnej białej niedźwiedzicyi która z półwyspu Tajnyr przeszła na około 1500 km wyglodniala i wychodzenia. Myśle że biała niedźwiedzica polarna została wyleczona przez weterynarza i podali jej leki wzmacniające i dali coś dobrego pożywne do jedzenia.
Felusia, Polska
02/07/2019 22:52
1
0
Whatever the real reason for her discovery so far from her normal habitat, firstly I am just glad to see that she has been rescued and this is a great part is due to the publicity that your articles generated, thank you.

Secondly, if indeed she was poached and being bred for her pelt then the perpetrators must be tracked down and it would be fitting if they were put in the her cage, so that she can properly, 'thank' them for their treatment of her.
David Mann, Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast, Ukraine
24/06/2019 14:51
7
0
1

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