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Премия рунета 2017

Bears are retreating. State of emergency is cancelled on Novaya Zemlya

19 february 2019
The authorities of the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya cancel the emergency mode, introduced due to the accumulation of polar bears around the settlements. WWF-Russia experts believe that a repetition of the situation is possible - both this season and in future years. That is why urgent measures are needed to prevent human – polar bear conflicts.

Emergency mode on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago was introduced on February 9 due to the mass invasion of polar bears to the settlements.

Foto: Ivan Mizin

Specialists from Rosprirodnadzor, Institute of Ecology and Evolution and the Russian Arctic National Park. arrived on the archipelago on February 14. Experts inspected the territory of the village and waste deposits where a large accumulation of polar bears was noticed - more than 50 species. Videos and pictures of the unprecedented invasion went around the world.

Photos from the group: https://vk.com/novajazemlja

Polar bears for several days kept people of the village in fear. They even entered the houses. Since the introduction of the emergency regime on the archipelago, there have been no cases of a polar bear attacking a human.

“First of all, it is important to eliminate landfills and establish a waste management system. In the future, after the main threat is eliminated, a bear patrol should be created in the village, - commented Mikhail Stishov, Arctic Biodiversity Projects Coordinator, WWF-Russia. – Local people, trained and equipped with the support of WWF-Russia, work effectively in Chukotka and in the Nenets Autonomous District. The main goal is to promptly inform about the bear approaching a settlement, wisely and quickly drive it away”.
“In addition, it is necessary to install additional equipment in the villages - fences, video-surveillance and alert systems. But the main thing is to clearly explain to the people that the bears should not be lured in any way, the doors should be kept closed and all possible precautions should be observed“, - says M. Stishov.
Foto: Ivan Mizin

The expedition members worked on the archipelago for 5 days, and every day there were not more than 20 bears. The conclusion of the scientists - bears are leaving. But they can return, knowing that there is a constant feeding spot. In the future it is necessary to completely remove waste deposit near the village.

“A blessing in disguise.” In my opinion, this situation made us look more closely at the problem existing for many years. It's time to act. It is necessary to eliminate the ‘bear kitchen’“, - comments Nikolay Levanidov, Deputy Head of the Rosprirodnadzor supervision in the Arkhangelsk region”.
Foto: Tatiana Yulusova

The experts marked five polar bears with satellite collars in order to monitor their movements in the future and take measures to prevent conflict situations. The same work is supported annually by WWF-Russia.

When a group of scientists returns to Arkhangelsk, they will present the results of their work and give instructions for further actions.

For additional information please contact
Press officer of the Barents projectBarents sea ecoregional programme