Vankarem village besieged by polar bears
To hold back the bear invasion to Vankarem village, located on their important migration route, local WWF-sponsored Bear Patrol found 80 dead walruses and brought them to a site 10 km away from the village. Every day, up to 100 polar bears gather at this ‘restaurant’.
At present, only 8 bears are still there. Most animals have left for the north, in the direction of Cape Schmidt. Another group of bears bypassed Vankarem by a lagoon and now is on the way to the East (village Nutepelmen).
Bears - large males and females with babies – pass Vankarem every night. By midday they move to the coast, but remain within sight. So villagers have to accompany their children on their way to school and kindergarten. However, despite all precautions, at several occasions patrollers spotted and caught children trying to approach the bears and tease them. To prevent these incidents in the future, patrollers talk to parents to raise awareness of the problem.
“The fact that a large number of polar bears (about 200) is concentrated on a small strip of land along the coast s a bad sign”, says Viktor Nikiforov, WWF Regional Programmes Director. “It is quite probable that only these polar bears managed to reach the Chukotka coast and decided to stay here”.
Warm weather that moved ice drifts too far from the coast makes it difficult for bears to migrate north. Recently, a case of eight polar bears illegally shot in Ryrkaypy was discovered and brought to court.
To save the polar bear, it is necessary to protect animals and raise public awareness.