A desperate, hungry polar bear strayed hundreds of miles from its home and turned up in the city of Norilsk, in northern Siberia.
The starving female bear was first spotted on Sunday (June 16) in an industrial area north-east of central Norilsk after leaving her natural Arctic habitat behind. Her feet were caked in mud and she was visibly weak.
She is being monitored by officials and on Tuesday lay exhausted on the ground for hours, only occasionally rising to sniff around, presumably on the hunt for food.
Videos of the animal showed her scavenging in the snow for food:
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По информации полиции утром белого медведя усыпят и далее переправят в зоопарк Красноярска. Информация от МЧС…) Я очень рад, что всё так хорошо заканчивается! Красивый мишка, но очень опасен в данной ситуации… ⠀ Мне не понятно, каким же образом этот медведь смог пройти такое расстояние, через весь Таймыр, и ни на кого не нарвался! Он должен был дорогой встречать многих охотников. Кстати, такая же история произошла и в 70-е годы. Тогда, примерно в этом же месте, возле склада взрывчатки, тоже оказался белый медведь. Я писал об этом случае ранее. И тогда все тундровики поражались, как он смог пройти через участки многих охотников и его никто не увидел! Ни медведя, ни его следов! Какая- то мистика…
The climate crisis we are currently facing is causing ice to melt rapidly, damaging polar bears’ sea-ice habitats and forcing them to scavenge for food further inland, bringing them into contact with people and inhabited areas.
It’s unclear whether this was this case for the bear in Siberia but the news comes just days after Greenland lost over two Gigatonnes of ice in a single day last week.
Environmental services official Alexander Korobkin spoke to AFP about the poor female, saying:
She is still moving around a factory, under observation by police and the emergency services, who are ensuring her safety and those of residents.
A stray polar bear is seen in the Siberian industrial city
Photo: Stringer pic.twitter.com/ZTHTum5aTU
— ÓDúláinne (@ODulainne) June 19, 2019
Local environmentalists have said the unusual sight marks the first time a polar bear has been seen in the city in more than 40 years, The Guardian report. The bear is believed to have walked 1,500 kilometres from the islands in Kara Sea.
Oleg Krashevsky, a local wildlife expert who filmed the polar bear close up, said it was unclear exactly why the animal had ventured into the city, although it is possible she had simply got lost.
The expert explained the bear had watery eyes and clearly could not see very well.
State wildlife experts are expected to arrive in Norilsk on Wednesday to assess the bear’s condition. According to the Siberian Times, Anatoly Nikolaychyuk, head of Taymyr department of state hunting control, said there were only a couple of options in regards to the bear; either relocate it to the shore or have a zoo take it in.
I went there tonight and saw [the bear] in person. This is a unique and rare case.
Hopefully officials will find a humane and responsible way to deal with the bear soon.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.