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Polar bears ‘lift’ siege from Russian Arctic settlement

The specialists and local authorities, as well as the military and law enforcement continue patrolling the area and monitoring the situation

MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/./TASS/. Dozens of polar bears who have been besieging the Belushya Guba settlement on Russia’s Novaya Zemlya archipelago for over a week, have left the area, a source from the Arkhangelsk regional department of the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources told TASS on Monday.

On February 9, the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, located in the Arctic Ocean in the Arkhangelsk Region in Russia’s North, declared a state of emergency after dozens of polar bears had ‘invaded’ local settlements. At least 52 polar bears were spotted near the settlement of Belushya Guba, some of them acting aggressively or breaking into homes and offices. A group of scientists and experts was airlifted to the archipelago on February 14 to deal with the problem.

"No bears have been spotted in Belushya Guba or around it for the past 24 hours," the federal service said. "Their numbers have thinned out near the other settlements compared to the previous week," the source added.

He said specialists and local authorities, military and law enforcement officers continue patrolling the area and monitoring the situation. Tranquilizing the animals and attaching devices to them to track their migration is now being considered.

Earlier, head of the Novaya Zemlya administration Zhigansha Musin told TASS that the local commission for emergency situations had made the decision to lift the state of emergency on February 19. He said the bears had left once ice had amassed, and also due to the activity of a group that was chasing the bears away from local settlements.