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Arctic residents will be warned about the polar bear with light and sound

13 december 2021
Light and sound alarm system was installed in the village of Amderma of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug with the support of WWF-Russia to warn residents about polar bears has coming to the village.

The village of Amderma is home to about 250 people. The settlement is located on the coast of the Kara Sea and has been frequently visited by polar bears in recent years. The Polar Bear Patrol team is engaged in driving predators away. This year, from July to August, the Polar bear patrol was on duty almost every day to ensure the safety of the locals and tried to drive the bears away from the village on their way.

“There were a lot of polar bears this year. Sometimes, they sneaked into town center, but people did not have time to warn about it. It's good that we have installed a warning system throughout the village. Now we do not need to call people and hope for “word of mouth” to work", - says Yuri Popovich, head of the Polar Bear Patrol in Amderma.
“The problem of polar bears' entry into villages is a topical issue throughout the Russian Arctic, therefore, an active search for a solution is under way. In some places, fences are installed, somewhere video surveillance systems, additional lighting are used, and the search for optimal means of scaring away predators is underway. The light and sound warning system is also a kind of experiment in this direction. So far, this has shown itself to be quite effective. People react as quickly as possible to the sounds heard throughout the village, and behave accordingly - they hide inside, take their children off the street», – says Varvara Semyonova, coordinator of WWF-Russia Polar Bear Patrol project.
WWF-Russia

This year a new team joined Polar Bear Patrol. Now the security of the village is provided by 5 people. Thanks to the help of WWF supporters winter and summer suits, ammunition, deterrents, walkie-talkies and fuel were purchased for the effective and safe work of volunteers.

There is a school and a kindergarten in the village. WWF-Russia experts handed over the key fobs with the patrolmen phone numbers for operational communication, held a meeting with the schoolchildren, once again reminded them of the safety rules when encountering a polar bear and talked about the new warning system.

The Polar Bear Patrol in Amderma is working effectively, according to local residents. Several times this year, they had to drive polar bears away from the village for long distances and even save reindeer herders in the tundra from a polar bear attack.

“Many thanks to the Amderma village patrolmen for their, I emphasize, voluntary work. These people are not indifferent to the life of their fellow villagers, and they are ready to ensure the safety of both adults and children. We are trying to support this work. But this year it became obvious that the patrolmen needed off-road vehicles. I call on WWF-Russia supporters to help “The Arctic - a safe home for everyone” project, the purpose of which is to purchase equipment for the effective work of patrolmen», – comments Sergei Uvarov, coordinator of WWF-Russia projects in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

Also, experts from WWF-Russia donated a snowblower to the kindergarten to make snow removal easier so that there are no “blind spots” around the building because of the snowdrifts. Video surveillance system has been repaired to assess the situation on the street from the inside. Now, before going outside, children and adults can make sure that the polar bear is not around.

Video (in Russian)

For additional information please contact
Press officer of Barents ecoregional programme
Senior Arctic biodiversity coordinator WWF-Russia