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.

Caption reads: “The polar bear is the owner of the archipelago!”

“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.

View this post on Instagram

State of emergency is declared after more than 50 polar bears invade Russian town and 'chase terrified residents' An #arcticregion of #Russia has declared a state of emergency over a polar bear 'invasion' which has left people 'afraid to go outside'. The aggressive bears have entered homes and public buildings in the remote #NovayaZemlya archipelago – home to around 3,000 people – where officials have warned of a 'mass invasion'. Since December 52 #polarbears have regularly visited the archipelago's main settlement, #BelushyaGuba, with some displaying 'aggressive behaviour'. People are 'afraid to go outside' and 'daily life is in turmoil', said the deputy head of the local administration, Aleksandr Minayev. 'Parents are wary of letting children to go to schools and kindergartens,' he said. 'There are cases of aggressive behaviour of wild animals – attacks on people, penetration into residential and office buildings. 'There are constantly 6 to 10 #bears inside the settlement.' Bears are constantly inside a military garrison and 'literally chase people' as well as going into the entrances of blocks of flats, another official said. Despite the siege, residents have been warned they face prosecution if they shoot the endangered species. A request to #Moscow to allow the shooting of some bears has met with a flat refusal from nature preservation bosses. Instead a team of specialists has been dispatched to the outpost to advice residents on other measures to discourage the bears. Local officials have complained that vehicle and dog patrols have not been effective as polar bears feel secure and no longer react.  Polar bears are affected by #globalwarming with melting 'Arctic ice forcing them to spend more time on land where they compete for food. Russia has air force and air defence troops based on Novaya Zemlya. The archipelago in the Arctic was used by the USSR for nuclear tests.

A post shared by Shiezoli (@shiezoli) on

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.