A chain of remote Russian islands has declared a state of emergency after it was swarmed with hungry polar bears.

The Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean has seen more than fifty polar bears come into settlements searching for food since December last year.

News agency TASS says that some of the bears have been aggressive, attacking people and entering homes.

The regional government has issued a statement saying:

Residents, schools and kindergartens are submitting numerous oral and written complaints demanding to ensure safety in the settlement.

The people are scared. They are frightened to leave homes and their daily routines are broken. Parents are afraid to let the children go to school or kindergarten.

The bears’ move into the human settlements is clearly a result of climate change – much of the ice where they usually hunt seals in the Arctic Circle is simply not there any more.

Surreal imagery of bears sifting through rubbish dumps, facing off with household pets and looming in people’s doorways has gone viral on Twitter. It’s kind of funny, sure – particularly this guy and his bear selfies:

…but it’s mostly profoundly sad. There are reports that the bears are facing a cull, despite polar bears being listed as a threatened species – the worldwide population is estimated at 26,000. Encounters between bears and humans are only going to rise with the continuing warming of the climate, according to experts.

The bears are so desperate for a meal that they’re no longer scared off by car horns or gun shots. Experts are reportedly being brought in to try to deal with the problem – though we all know the problem is much bigger than just these bears.

Source: Euronews
Image: Twitter / @Julius_ALF