Polar Bears Invade Russian Town; Locals Delighted but Wary

MOSCOW (AP) -
(Susanne Miller/US Fish and Wildlife Service/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo)

Russian wildlife specialists are heading for an Arctic archipelago to try to resolve a situation that has both terrified and delighted the locals: Polar bears who have moved into a populated area.

a mother polar polar bear and two cubs walk across the courtyard of a residential block, Feb. 11, 2019, in Belushya Guba, Novaya Zemlya, Russia. (@muah_irinaelis via AP)

It’s not the first time that polar bears have come to Novaya Zemlya, a group of two large Russian islands farther north than America’s most northerly town of Barrow, Alaska. But the numbers are striking: More than 50 bears have been spotted in the archipelago’s main town of Belushya Guba.

Over the weekend, regional Russian authorities declared a state of emergency after the bears peered into homes, entered buildings and gorged at a garbage dump outside the town.