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Polar bear who kept oil workers alert to be moved to Arctic island

November 25, 2014, 18:50 UTC+3 ARKHANGELSK
The three-year old bear was keeping the oil well's workers alert for six days and even attempted to sneak into their canteen but was not aggressive
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© TASS/EPA/MARTEN VAN DIJL

ARKHANGELSK, November 25. /TASS/. The polar bear who has been hanging around an oil well in the Nenets autonomous district in northern Russia will be tranquilized and airlifted to an Arctic island, a local official said on Tuesday.

The three-year old bear was keeping the oil well's workers alert for six days and even attempted to sneak into their canteen but was not aggressive. On November 20, the beast was scared away by a helicopter and moved to an oil field 50 kilometers away from the compounds of the oil workers.

"There is no link between the Dolgy island (where the bear will be airlifted) and the continent, therefore, we hope that the bear will adapt there and will find food in his natural habitat," the official said.

However, Viktor Nikiforov, the chief of the Bear Patrol program of the World Wildlife Fund Russia, said that the bear's relocation was a temporary solution. "The bear will not understand that humans were a threat," he said adding that the beast could approach settlements again.

The polar bear is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The worldwide polar bear population is estimated at 20,000-25,000, with 5,000-7,000 bears living along Russia's Arctic coast. The polar bear hunt has been banned in Russia since 1957.

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