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Polar bears come to Vaigach Island

14 february 2019
Specialists of marine meteorological station named after E.К. Fedorov (MG-2) in the north of Vaigach island noticed a polar bear. The animal went out to the building on Thursday around noon. Not finding any food, a rather large bear went north, toward Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

“The beast was rather well-fed, did not behave aggressively, wandered around and went away towards the military outpost,” said meteorologist Alexey Abramchuk. - This visit had no effect on our work, the situation at the station is calm, working. We have both the building and the people prepared for polar bears encounters; we follow all the safety rules.”

Last fall WWF grant, provided to the Northern Hydromet Service, allowed to equip the building of the weather station. Durable bars are installed on all the windows so that a particularly curious bear could not get inside. Spotlights and video surveillance system were installed along the perimeter. Thus, people can monitor the entire area around the station and, going out into the street, may not be afraid of a sudden attack. In addition, staff are instructed on how to handle waste and scare away too annoying animals.

Polar bear on Vaigach Island
Alexey Abramchuk / WWF Russia
“The bear that came out today to meteorologists is most likely from Novaya Zemlya. But in this case, the animal did not stay long – people correctly dispose the waste and the animal had no reason to stay near the buildings, - commented the Arctic biodiversity conservation projects coordinator Mikhail Stishov of WWF Russia. - This case is a positive example of how any settlements in the Arctic should be prepared, where there is the slightest chance of a predator visit. People feel safe and instructed, buildings are properly equipped. In the future, WWF Russia plans to use this experience at other meteorological stations and in places where people stay in the Russian Arctic. In addition, we are ready to provide expert support to all who are interested in building a competent "polar bear defense."

Four specialists constantly live and work on the marine meteorological station named after E.К. Fedorov (MG-2). Here on the northern tip of Vaigach Island between the Kara and Barents Seas one of the migration routes of polar bears passes. Predators quite often become uninvited guests of polar explorers. So, in August and September this year, bears visited the station almost every day, sometimes single animals, often females with cubs. Now meteorologists are ready for encounters and feel much safer.

For additional information please contact
Press officer of the Barents project/Barents sea ecoregional program
Chief Projects coordinator