Hungry Polar Bears Trap Scientists Inside Arctic Weather Station

A team of Russian scientists on a remote Arctic island

were rescued

by a passing ship after being trapped for days inside their weather station by hungry

polar bears

.


The Polar Bear Programme

The scientists were staying on Troynoy Island located in the Kara Sea north of Siberia when, on Aug. 31, a polar bear ate one of their two dogs and wouldn’t leave.

Researchers’ encounters with polar bears on Troynoy Island is fairly common, Vassiliy Shevchenko, head of the Sevgidromet State Monitoring Network,

told The Guardian

.

However, Yelena Novikova, a spokeswoman for Sevgidromet, told The Guardian the ongoing reduction in sea ice due to

climate change

has caused the polar bear population to grow increasingly aggressive.

“The ice receded quickly and the bears didn’t have time to swim to other islands,” Novikova said. “There’s no food on [Troynoy] island, so they came up to the station.”

Vadim Plotnikov, the head of the weather station on Troynoy Island,

told TASS Russian News Agency

there were about 10 adult bears, including four female bears with cubs, spotted around the weather station. One of the female bears even started sleeping underneath one of the windows, Plotnikov


said.

Trapped inside and out of flares to spook the bears, the team became desperate. They called for help and were told they would have to wait a month for the next scheduled supply ship. But then, help arrived. A Russian expedition ship was able to reach them and give the scientists the dogs and flares they needed, TASS reported Wednesday. The ship’s crew even helped them scare off the bears.

Polar bears are registered on the

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

and in the Red Book of Russia as an endangered species.

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