‘Mass invasion’ of Polar Bears Terrorizes Remote Russian Islands

A “mass invasion” of polar bears is terrorizing residents of some remote Russian islands, the BBC reports. Officials in the Novaya Zemlya islands, which are home to several thousand people, have declared a state of emergency  due to an uptick in polar bear attacks and sightings. In Belushya Guba, the island group’s main settlement, 52 bears have been reported in the area, with six to 10 of these animals considered a constant presence, per the BBC.  A local official said more than five polar bears had encroached upon an area military outpost. “I’ve been on Novaya Zemlya since 1983,” that administrator, Vigansha Musin, reportedly said in a press release. “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 school or kindergarten,” another local administrator reportedly said. Climate change has forced dramatic changes in polar bear behavior, including their hunting habits. They now travel to land more frequently in search of food, the BBC notes.