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56 hungry polar bear besiege village in Chukotka

By The Siberian Times reporter
06 December 2019

All public events cancelled, extra protection for children as they go to kindergarten and school.

Their main task is prevent the polar bears entering the village. Picture: WWF Russia

Abnormally warm weather in Russia’s easternmost region caused a polar bear ’siege’ with 56 predators gathered at a site near the village of Ryrkaipiy. 

‘Nearly all polar bears are skinny. There are adult bears, adolescents and mother bears with cubs of different ages’, said Tatiana Minenko, head of the WWF Polar Bear Patrol in Ryrkaipiy. 

The animals are currently feeding on seal carcasses left around Cape Kozhevnkov.

These were left from early autumn when thousands of seals stayed there. 

The seals left the rookery in November and there won’t be a top up on food. 

Polar bear near Ryrkaypiy


Polar bear near Ryrkaypiy


Polar bear near Ryrkaypiy


Polar bear near Ryrkaypiy


Polar bear near Ryrkaypiy


Polar bear near Ryrkaypiy

The animals are currently feeding on seal carcasses left around Cape Kozhevnkov. Pictures: Maksim Deminov

Residents of Rirkaipiy are used to seeing polar bears in close proximity.

For several years they have run a Bear Patrol to make sure there is no conflict between humans and the predators.

Yet even they admit that having such a ‘crowd’ of polar bears is quite rare.

The bears arrived at Cape Kozhevnkov within three or four days. 

Tatiana Minenko

Tatiana Minenko, resident of the Bear Patrol. Picture: WWF Russia

On 5 December a brigade of the Bear Patrol counted up 56 polar bears .

Two rangers Tatiana Minenko and Maksim Deminov are working around the clock, driving about the village several times at day and night to prevent potential clashes. 

Their main task is prevent the polar bears entering the village. 

The local administration and volunteers have joined the patrol, driving around with the rangers on snowmobiles and keep an extremely close control over the situation.

 

There are guards on duty next to local kindergarten and school.

All public events like preparation for end of year concerts, rehearsals, and local gatherings were cancelled for the duration of the bear ‘invasion’.

Children are driven to school and kindergarten and back home in buses.

Residents of Rirkaipiy are used to seeing polar bears in close proximity. Picture: Tatiana Minenko

Ryrkaypiy

Comments (4)

I think that carcasses are from normal mortality of animals, and nobody moves them for the sake of the bears. Bears are fully capable to find them. A rookery may have thousands of animals. Bears come every year when the seals and walruses swim away with their young one.
Piotr Berman, United States
11/02/2020 04:41
2
0
I fully agree with Anonymous, from Switzerland: it is intelligent and clever to keep the bears at a safe distance and control them, by gathering the walrus (seals ?) carcasses and leaving them for the hungry bears to feed on, rather than letting them encroach into the village. Thank you Russia for being a world leader in protecting polar bears; other countries should use - and follow - your example...
Francois, Montpellier (France)
09/01/2020 18:15
6
1
It is truly wonderful and heart warming to see that such dedicated rangers like Tatiana Minenko and Maksim Deminov with their team have been working around the clock to ensure that the cohabitation between the bears and the inhabitants has run so smoothly, with no attacks nor shootings.Thank you for your great and courageous work,

I also think that its an extremely intelligent and perfect way to keep the bears at a safe distance and control them, by gathering the walrus carcasses and leaving them for the hungry bears to feed on, rather than letting them encroach into the village. Thank you Russia for being a world leader in Nature Conservation; other countries should use your example...

Lets hope that the sea ice will thicken in the very near future so that these majestic creatures can return to hunting their natural prey once again; consequently bringing the village of Ryrkaypiy and its inhabitants back to a normal situation.
Anonymous, Switzerland
10/12/2019 22:59
10
1
and how did the seal carcasses get there in the first place? were the seals culled for their fur,fat,meat,whatever and the rest left to rot? or did they die a natural death and that is nature?
Benedikt Morak, Moscow
07/12/2019 06:56
3
3
1

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