WWF: Novaya Zemlya Needs Poalr Bear Patrol
The commission, that arrived in Novaya Zemlya after the introduction of the emergency regime, included experts of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Arctic National Park and the Office of Rosprirodnadzor for the Arkhangelsk Region.
Experts together with representatives of the municipal administration conducted a survey of polar bears around the village, inspected waste deposits and current system of detecting polar bears and driving them away from the buildings.
Experts have concluded that the state of waste deposits, especially food waste, often does not meet the requirements. Waste is stored too close to the polar bears' habitat.
“A new professional structure should be created on Novaya Zemlya to deal with the prevention and mitigation of conflicts between humans and the polar bears. It must have all the necessary powers and technical means to conduct this activity. Without this, an effective resolution of the current situation in the future is not possible,” said Ivan Mizin, Deputy Director for Research at the Russian Arctic National Park.
In five days experts counted up to 20 polar bears of both sexes and different ages around the settlement. Most of them were on fast ice. The second group of animals kept close to the landfills. All the species were in good condition, well-fed, without signs of disease or injury.
The experts managed to immobilize three adult bears, the males were tagged with ear marks. This will allow identifying animals in the future as well as tracing the migration of the family group.
With the formation of ice in February, most of the bears went to hunt seals, the experts say. Climate forecasts say that in the coming years there will be little ice near the shores of Novaya Zemlya, and the situation may repeat.
According to the results of work on Novaya Zemlya, the expert group presented a number of proposals and recommendations to the municipality to further mitigate possible conflict situations between polar bears and humans.