Wednesday, Nov 29 2023
All Cities
Choose Your City
'Siberia is so big, it’s almost more an idea than a place'
Ian Frazier

Polar bear invasion on Novaya Zemlya as 50 wild animals besiege remote town and ‘chase people’

By The Siberian Times reporter
10 February 2019

State of emergency called but locals are told they cannot shoot endangered species scavenging for food at local dump.

'People are ‘afraid to go outside’ and ‘daily life is in turmoil.' Picture: VK

The influx of bears is worse than ‘fearful’ residents can recall at in the far-flying Arctic archipelago known as a Soviet nuclear test base. 

People are ‘afraid to go outside’ and ‘daily life is in turmoil’, said deputy head of the local administration, Aleksandr Minayev.

‘Parents are wary of letting children to go to schools and kindergartens,’ he made clear.

Yet one video shows a bear go inside an apartment block next to a fortunately empty pushchair. 

The invasion centres on town of Belushya Guba where 52 beasts have been counted.

Polar bear at the entrance

When they walk under your window at night, it is creepy.' Picture: Marina Golubeva

Head of the local administration Zigansha Musin said: ‘I have been in Novaya Zemlya since 1983, yet I've never seen such a massive polar bear invasion.’

He warned: the animals are ‘literally chasing people and even entering the entrances of residential buildings’.

Shooting in the air, sounding car horns and erecting fences have all failed so far to quell the bar invasion.

Russian nature protection agency denied a request to shoot bears in order to scare the predators away.

However, a team of ‘specialists’ is now on the way to the stricken town. 

Not all locals are scared. 

One video shows a man walking nonchalantly past a roving bear close to several apartment blocks. 

However, there is a risk of attack and a danger that people could be mauled to death by bears. 

The deputy chief of the local administration says there have been attacks already.

From December 2018 to February 2019 there has been a large accumulation of polar bears around settlements,’ said Minayev. 

Polar bear at the playing ground

Polar bear at the playing ground

Polar bear meets a man

Polar bear at the trash bin

‘Parents are wary of letting children to go to schools and kindergartens.' Pictures: VK

‘In the area of the settlement  Belushya Guba, 52 polar bears were spotted, entering the settlement. 

‘There are cases of aggressive behaviour of wild animals - attacks on people, penetration into residential and office buildings. 

‘In the village there are constantly from six to ten polar bears. 

‘Numerous oral and written statements are being received from residents as well as schools and kindergartens, demanding safety of their residence.’

Reports posted online speak of a ‘bear siege’ .

Former resident Anastasia Bondarenko said the bears are no longer scared of man and have become ‘insolent’.

She said: ‘There are no more enemies. That is  they became  insolent. This is scary. When they walk under your window at night, it is creepy.'

The town has a population of around 1,970.

It is the main permanent settlement on Novaya Zemlya. 

A large proportion of its population is made up of military personnel associated with the nuclear test sites located on the island.

Comments (5)

Hmmm... I wonder what the bears ate before the humans came along. But I digress. Think about it for a moment. If you start feeding them, they will return over and over again as their their natural skills diminish, robbing them of the pride of accomplishment... the thrill of the hunt They'll develop a dependency on government handouts, becoming parasites and vagrants in their own environment. So when they become depressed at their predicament worsens, will you offer them Prozac or Zoloft?
John, Chicago, USA
19/02/2019 04:45
When animals become too many like caribou,ptarmigan, seabirds and wolfs and weasel’s we Inuit call them kajaai because they will go after you and if you shoot one wolf they will tear the wolf apart
Caribou’s and ptarmigan will move out of the way
Mitimatalik, Nunavut Canada
16/02/2019 18:48
If you feed the bears until their full, then they will leave the people alone. Until they make more bears.
Jimmy V, NC, US
16/02/2019 11:26
These bears definitely need help because they are starving. They have come to town to look for food, that's all. A feeding station located far away from town would surely help to keep them out of town. Also, people should not allow refuse to pile up near their homes, it only attracts these hungry, inquisitive bears.
Linda Gordon, Indiana, U.S.
11/02/2019 21:58
I think they should be fed by the government. If they have enough food, in an appropriate place they should not eat people.
Bonnie B Thurber, United States
11/02/2019 21:06

Add your comment

We welcome a healthy debate, but do not accept offensive or abusive comments. Please also read 'Siberian Times' Privacy Policy



Add your comments

The views expressed in the comments above are those of our readers. 'Siberian Times' reserves the right to pre-moderate some comments.

Control code*

Type the code

* obligatory



The Bank of Russia official exchange rates of foreign currencies