About 52 polar bears invaded a small military settlement in the Russian Arctic after ice caps in their home started to melt.
Arkhangelsk regional government stated that the bears currently roam free around the Belushya Guba, a restricted military zone that has several small settlements. They have since declared a state of emergency as the bears attacked the people, broken homes and searched for foods.
“The emergency situation was caused by the mass invasion of polar bears in residential areas,” said governor Igor Orlov in a report by This is Insider.
Authorities have now put up fences around homes and schools to protect the community, while some residents are being taken to work in military vehicles.
Hunters are barred from shooting the bears, because they are protected in Russia as an endangered species.
In a phone interview with The New York Times, Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution professor Ilya N. Mordvintsev said the absence of sea ice around the southern part of Novaya Zemlya, a Russian island chain, is possibly one of the reasons why the polar bears were forced to go.
On the other hand, other Russian scientists stated it could be caused by the warming of seas.
Mordvintsev said more study on the sudden invasion of polar bears is needed in order to understand what caused it and to know how the people could respond to this effectively.