An unusual traveler, exhausted, watery-eyed and hungry. Such was a polar bear that strayed hundreds of miles from her natural Arctic habitat. The animal walked to the large Russian industrial city of Norilsk in northern Siberia.
On Monday, a polar bear entered the industrial city for the first time in 40 years. We are talking about a female, and as she describes The Siberian Times, she was visibly weak and apparently ill.
Oleg Krashevsky, a local wildlife expert who saw the bear closely, said the animal also appears to have vision problems.
The animal ended up lying on the ground, where
“It is still moving around a factory under the watch of police and emergency services that are ensuring her safety and that of residents,” said Alexander Korobkin, an environmental services official.
Last Wednesday a team of experts was expected to be responsible for inspecting the animal and deciding her fate.
According to Oleg Krashevsky, it is not clear what drove the animal into the city, although it is not ruled out that she was simply lost.
Russia has seen an increase in the number of polar bears searching for food in the country’s villages and towns. This increase coincides with the continuing effect of climate change on the habitat of the species. As the ice on which polar bears depend for hunting and rest disappears, more animals end up in towns and homes looking for something to eat.
According to Reuters, the number of polar bears sweeping remote villages in northern Russia has recently become so pronounced and potentially dangerous that a state of emergency has been declared.
Norilsk residents believe the bear entered the city after leaving her natural habitat and crossing the Taymyr peninsula – a journey of approximately 1,300 kilometers – in search of food, reports The Siberian Times.
Since arriving in Norilsk, the bear has been spotted around the city crossing roads and looking for something to eat. Many residents have managed to get close enough to capture videos and photos.
According to The Siberian Times, local police are keeping an eye on the animal and are making sure no one gets too close to the big bear. Authorities say they are awaiting a decision from the national government on how to handle the animal. The polar bear will either be sedated and return to her Arctic coast
The choice will probably boil down to the bear’s health and whether experts believe the animal can survive on her own in the wild.
Source: Portal do Animal