Polar Bears Invade Russian Town: State of Emergency Declared

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Stories careening around the web over the past few days have sounded the alarm about an "invasion" of polar bears on an archipelago at the northern reaches of Russian Federation.

So far, there are 26,000 estimated population of polar bears worldwide.

Although Russia classifies polar bears as endangered species and bans their killing, regional authorities reportedly entertained the idea of shooting down the animals as "the only possible forced measure".

A state of emergency has been declared as authorities work out how to tackle the problem.

Such has been the invasion that people living in the town are said to be scared of leaving their homes.

The hidden story to this is that this situation will likely become more prevalent in future years as the polar ice caps melt, forcing polar bears and other arctic animals further and further south in order to find places to live. The bears had no fear of signals used to scare them off as well as of patrol cars and dogs. Videos have appeared of dozens of the animals rooting through a nearby garbage dump and CCTV footage shown on Russian Federation state television revealed a bear wandering through the hallway of a building.

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"I have been in Novaya Zemlya since 1983, but there has never been so many polar bears in the vicinity", local leader Zhigansha Musin told the news agency.

Russian state media reported that the usual methods of scaring the bears away using police sirens, auto horns and dogs are no longer effective, because the animals have become so used to them. They are frightened to leave homes and their daily routines are broken.

Russian Federation has air force and air defence troops based on Novaya Zemlya. Instead, a task force was sent to the region to assess the situation. If all else fails, they may issue licenses to shoot the bears. "Parents are afraid to let the children go to school or kindergarten", says the statement.

At least five maritime bears were spotted on a local military garrison, "literally chasing people" and entering residential buildings, he said in a translated press release.

Estimates put the worldwide population of polar bears at 26,000.