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Премия рунета 2017

Scientists testing sound polar bear repeller to protect people and animals

26 december 2019
First tests of the sound polar bear repeller were carried out on Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, near the village of Belushya Guba. Unique for Russia development was initiated by the Research Institute of Applied Acoustics in collaboration with WWF Russia. The device is designed to ensure the safety of Arctic settlements and reduce the number of human - polar bears encounters.

The tests were performed by specialists from the Moscow Zoo, the Russian Arctic National Park and the Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Science. It was carried out at a landfill three kilometers from the village of Belushya Guba. This year in February of more than 50 polar bears gathered here, because of which an emergency regime was introduced.

Specialists managed to observe the reaction of five bears to the operation of the device. The bears didn’t react to the sound the same way - the older ones and probably the more cautious preferred to leave, while the young beast, experiencing obvious severe discomfort, continued to remain on the garbage spot.

Polar bear repeller
Preparation for tests
Voshchanova I.L., expert of the Moscow Zoo

The work of scientists was greatly complicated by weather conditions - constant snowstorm and short daylight hours. Therefore, the test results can only be considered as preliminary.

“Despite the fact that further refinement of the device and additional tests are required, the idea of scaring away bears with sound has proved its viability,” says Mikhail Stishov, Project Coordinator for Arctic Biodiversity Conservation in WWF Russia. - At the same time, one should not assume that such a repeller is a hundred percent guarantee of safety. It is important that locals correctly dispose wastes that attract bears, promptly and correctly respond to their appearance, have an alarm warning system in the village.”

In the near future, experts of the Research Institute of Applied Acoustics will have to finalize the device: adapt it to harsh northern conditions and make sure that the device is completely safe for animals.

In addition, the scientists are developing a mobile version of the device that can be carried by one person. This model will be handed over for testing to Chukotka, to one of the Polar Bear Patrols. And next tests on Novaya Zemlya are planned in August - September of the coming year.

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