Weekend Reads: A ‘mass invasion’ of polar bears is terrorizing an island town. Climate change is to blame. - PressFrom - Canada
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Weekend ReadsA ‘mass invasion’ of polar bears is terrorizing an island town. Climate change is to blame.

18:21  11 february  2019
18:21  11 february  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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Climate change is to blame . Polar bears are typically born on land but live mostly on sea ice, where they hunt and feed on seals. Warning of the “ mass invasion of polar bears in residential areas,” local officials vowed action in response to “numerous oral and written complaints demanding

“There’s never been such a mass invasion of polar bears .” “People are scared, afraid to leave their homes, their daily routines are being broken, and parents are unwilling to let their children go to Climate change has forced dramatic changes in polar bear behavior, including their hunting habits.

A ‘mass invasion’ of polar bears is terrorizing an island town. Climate change is to blame.© Screengrab via YouTube/ Thinning sea ice has driven more than 50 polar bears ashore on an Arctic archipelago in northern Russia, causing chaos for the local population. (Screengrab via YouTube)

Fences have risen around kindergartens. Special vehicles transport military personnel to their work sites. Residents of the island settlement are afraid to leave their homes.

Novaya Zemlya is a Russian archipelago stretching into the Arctic Ocean. It once played host to Soviet nuclear tests, including the largest-ever man-made explosion, when the so-called King of Bombs detonated in 1961, releasing 50 megatons of power and deepening an arms race that threatened to turn the Cold War hot.

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Russia is battling an unprecedented invasion of polar bears on a remote Arctic archipelago that is “I have been on Novaya Zemlya since 1983 and there has never been such a mass invasion ,” he said. Polar bears are facing an increasing struggle to survive as global climate change warms the

Polar bears are affected by climate change and are increasingly forced on to land to look for food. Russia classes them as endangered. "I've been on Novaya Zemlya since 1983," he said in an official press release. "There's never been such a mass invasion of polar bears ."

Today, the barren landscape is under siege — from dozens of polar bears locked in their very own sort of hot war. Marine ecologists have long been sounding the alarm about the peril posed by global warming for the vulnerable species. In the far reaches of Russia, the situation has suddenly become traumatic for humans, too.

Officials in the Arkhangelsk region, where the archipelago lies, on Saturday declared a state of emergency because of the marauding mammals. Polar bears are typically born on land but live mostly on sea ice, where they hunt and feed on seals. But as arctic ice thins, which is linked to the acceleration of climate change, the animals move ashore, ravenous. They scavenge, sometimes coming into contact with human populations.

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Harrison Ford issues an apocalyptic climate change warning - calling it the 'greatest moral Officials on Arctic archipelago have warned of a ' mass invasion ' of polar bears . Invasion : A polar bear prowls inside a building, one of more than 50 of the endangered animals who have been terrorising

This is the soul crushing footage of a starving polar bear in the Baffin Islands . Unable to find food due to the climate change , the bear faces an almost certain death.

At least 52 bears were massed near Belushya Guba, the main settlement on the island territory, which is still used as a military garrison, with restricted access to the public. The town had a population of about 2,000 as of the 2010 Census.

Now, they could be selectively slaughtered if Russian authorities can’t figure out another way to keep them from menacing the residents of the remote island outpost, where they began to collect in December 2018. Warning of the “mass invasion of polar bears in residential areas,” local officials vowed action in response to “numerous oral and written complaints demanding to ensure safety in the settlement."

Officials also said the situation was unprecedented.

“I have been in Novaya Zemlya since 1983, but there has never been so many polar bears in the vicinity,” said Zhigansha Musin, a local administrative head, according to TASS, Russia’s state news agency.

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"The emergency situation was caused by the mass invasion of polar bears in residential areas," reads a press release from the government of Russia's Arkhangelsk Last month a polar bear was shot and killed when it wandered near the Alaskan town of Arctic Village, well beyond the animal's normal range.

The animals facing an increasing struggle to find enough food to survive as climate change steadily transforms their environment.

TASS reported that the animals had tried to enter office buildings and residential quarters, and that they had chased residents and engaged in other aggressive behavior. Photos and video footage posted over the weekend showed polar bears parading through drab living spaces, appearing on playgrounds, staring down dogs and feasting on garbage.

“The people are scared," regional officials reported in a statement. “They are frightened to leave homes and their daily routines are broken. Parents are afraid to let the children go to school or kindergarten.”

Meanwhile, vehicle patrols and brigades of dogs appeared to make no difference. The mammals were undeterred, continuing to pose a “threat to the life and health” of residents, officials said. More drastic measures were required.

Residents are barred from hunting the animals, which are classified as a vulnerable species because of the “ongoing and potential loss of their sea ice habitat resulting from climate change," according to the World Wildlife Fund. The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that there are currently somewhere between 22,000 and 31,000 polar bears worldwide.

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The risks to polar bears on our rapidly warming planet is clear: Ursus maritimus treks across Arctic sea ice, which it uses as a platform to hunt fatty seals But climate change is freezing Arctic Ocean sea ice later and melting it sooner . In all but two of the Arctic's 19 polar bear subpopulations, sea ice

Dozens of aggressive polar bears have invaded a Russian archipelago, roaming inside homes and public buildings and terrorizing residents. Authorities in the Novaya Zemlya group of islands declared a state of emergency this week over what they called a “ mass invasion of polar bears in

So far, Russia’s environmental watchdog has withheld licenses for shooting the troublesome animals. Instead, a team of experts is being sent to the remote island community to try to protect the residents. “However, provided that those measures do not help solve the situation, a cull will remain the only and forced answer,” TASS reported, suggesting that killing the animals as a means of population control was possible.

The polar bears are battling adverse conditions of their own, driven by changing conditions in the Arctic, which is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, according to a 2013 study in the journal Nature. Models suggest that arctic sea ice is declining at a rate of nearly 13 percent per decade. Scientists also pointed to climate change as the reason for the aggressive behavior of a sloth of polar bears that surrounded a weather station in the Arctic in 2016, threatening a team of Russian researchers.

The animals wreaking havoc on Novaya Zemlya ventured inland on the southern end of the archipelago, where the ice is rapidly thinning, Ilya Mordvintsev, a researcher at the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, told TASS. On their way north, where the ice is thicker, they came across alternative sources of food at Belushya Guba and stopped to feed on the waste.

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Nor are polar bears in peril where the starving bear was filmed, on Baffin Island . "One starving bear is not evidence of climate change , despite gruesome photos," wrote Susan Crockford, a It should be noted that in other countries with significant polar bear populations, including Norway and Russia

‘High probability’ of a 30% decline in polar bear numbers by 2050 due to retreating sea ice, IUCN study finds.

But a garbage-based diet won’t properly nourish polar bears, whose energy demands require “high-fat prey,” as detailed in a 2014 paper in the journal Science. The marine animals are highly vulnerable to climate change, the authors found, because of their dependence on icy conditions in acquiring their preferred fare, seals, as well as other animals that sustain them, including fish and waterfowl. When a polar bear’s carnivorous needs aren’t met, or when it has to travel farther and faster to sate itself, its body condition suffers. A female’s reproductive capacities may falter.

The U.S. Geological Survey warned in 2007 that two-thirds of the global population of polar bears could be wiped out by 2050 because of thinning sea ice.

That prediction has periodically found stark visual expression. In December 2017, the world’s attention was briefly focused on a video of an emaciated polar bear, struggling to stand in the Canadian Arctic.

“This is what starvation looks like,” Paul Nicklen, the photographer who captured the scene, wrote on social media. “The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death. When scientists say polar bears will be extinct in the next 100 years, I think of the global population of 25,000 bears dying in this manner.”

The Canadian photographer described the scene as “soul-crushing,” but said he was moved to share it in an attempt to “break down the walls of apathy.”

The marine invasion in Russia, in testing the nerves of the local population, is also testing how firmly those walls stand.

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