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WWF asks Russia to adjust Arctic safety rules after polar bear explosives accident

December 25, 2015, 19:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A bear allegedly mistook a firecracker thrown to scare it away for food and got wounded after a cook regularly fed the bear

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© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has asked the Russian nature and defense ministries to improve safety rules for workers in the Arctic following the incident with the polar bear wounded in a firecracker explosion on the remote Wrangel Island, the organization said on its web site said on Friday.

"The joint regulations of the nature and defense ministries must outline the key rules for people working in the Arctic," WWF said, adding that organizations and companies working in the Arctic should immediately dispose of food waste, establish 24-hour surveillance of the territory and get reliable power supplies and alarm systems.

Earlier this week, a video was published online of the endangered polar bear rolling around in the snow in agony after it took an explosive that blew up in the jaw. Local police launched an investigation into the incident that reportedly occurred in November.

Media reports said the female bear was often fed by a cook working for Rusalyans, a company building facilities on Wrangel Island. But when the footage was made, the bear mistook a firecracker for food. The body of the bear has not been found yet.

The cook said he had thrown the firecracker to scare off the bear and had not expected her to take it into her mouth.

Russian Nature Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy earlier asked the Prosecutor-General’s Office to investigate the incident that had sparked a public outcry.

Polar bears are listed as a threatened species in Russia. The Russian polar bear population is estimated at 5,000-7,000 animals living along Russia's Arctic coast. According to estimates, there are currently some 25,000 polar bears worldwide.

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