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Travel This Alaskan Town Is Being Overrun by Polar Bears and Tourists

17:50  19 november  2017
17:50  19 november  2017 Source:   cntraveler.com

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Alaskan town 's polar bear problem leads to tourism boom - www.yahoo.com. The polar bears ' close proximity to the town has also sparked a tourism boom. Tourists take photos of polar bears seen outside of the Alaskan village of Kaktovik. Overrun By Polar Bears - 24locationsnearme.com.

The Alaskan town of Kaktovik has a population of fewer than 250 people, but at this time of year, it receives a wave of visitors—first polar bears , then tourists . The polar bear problem is one such example of how Alaska has been affected by climate change.

a polar bear in a body of water © Getty

The Alaskan town of Kaktovik has a population of fewer than 250 people, but at this time of year, it receives a wave of visitors—first polar bears, then tourists.

Located on Barter Island, off the state's northern coast on the Beaufort Sea, Kaktovik isn't used to this kind of attention. Every fall, polar bears wander into the village looking for food, and over the last few years, they've been coming earlier and earlier, reports ABC News. The reason? Global warming.

As the sea ice they depend on melts and disappears, the polar bears have been looking for alternate places to feed. One such source is what Kaktovik residents call "the bone pile," an area on the island's shore where generations of whale hunters have left bone carcasses. While the townspeople rely on the whales to survive (they're allowed to hunt three whales per year), the polar bears come for the leftover bones.

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WATCH Polar bears descend on Alaskan village, causing tourist boom: Part 1. 0 Shares. But, while locals are familiar with the roaming bears and know how to handle them, the town ’s mayor worries the tourists do not.

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The hungry, wandering polar bears are a huge problem for residents, who've created a local patrol to search the streets when the bears typically arrive at dusk. The town has subsequently experienced an unwelcome bout of tourism. Kaktovik is a two-hour flight from Fairbanks and only accessible by small planes; similar to whale-watching, tourists take chartered boats to catch glimpses of the bears. While the residents know how to handle and approach the bears, the visitors do not. "There are some people that just come on here and try to go out to the bone pile or walk themselves," Kaktovik's mayor Nora Jane Burns told ABC News. "They don't really understand they are wild animals and their demeanor can change just like that. If they get mauled or killed, it is on us."

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KAKTOVIK, Alaska — Come fall, polar bears are everywhere around this Arctic village, dozing on sand spits, roughhousing in the shallows, padding down the beach with cubs in tow and attracting hundreds of tourists who travel long distances to see them. At night, the bears steal into town

Alaskan locals told ABC News that hungry polar bears descend on the town to feed on the leftover carcasses from annual whale hunts. Still, that doesn't deter tourists , who take boats to get as close as possible to capture photos of the rare species. Polar bears are at high risk of endangerment, and

The polar bear problem is one such example of how Alaska has been affected by climate change. The natural beauty of its wilderness makes it a tourist destination, but changes in coastal erosion, sea ice retreat, and permafrost melt are putting the state, its people, and its wildlife, at risk.

ALSO WATCH: Kayakers have close encounter with polar bears


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