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Dogs and flares arrive to save polar-bear besieged Arctic weather station

About a dozen polar bears have besieged a weather station located on the remote Troynoy island in the southern part of the Kara Sea

ARKHANGELSK, September 14. /TASS/. A helicopter today delivered dogs and flares to the polar-bear besieged Russian Arctic weather station on the Troynoy island in the Kara Sea, Vassiliy Shevchenko, the head of the Sevgidromet State Monitoring Network, told TASS.

"A helicopter that took off from the Akademik Treshnikov expedition vessel of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring has delivered three puppies and pyrotechnical devices to the station to scare the bears away", Shevchenko said. The vessel’s crew members reported that they had helped to frighten away the bears from the station. Meteorological observations have been fully resumed, the station’s head Vadim Plotnikov noted.

As reported earlier, a female bear had been spending nights under the station’s windows since September 10. The situation posed a serious danger, preventing staff from going out because they had run out of flares to scare off predators. The bears killed one of the two dogs kept at the station and broke the station’s warehouse windows. The scientists had to abandon some meteorological observations that required that they walk out to the observation sites.

The weather-watching agency had issued a recommendation for the station’s personnel to use extreme caution, warning them not to leave the station without absolute necessity and to continue only with possible meteorological observations. "At the end of October, or in the beginning of November the near-shore waters will freeze and the bears will leave the island in search for food," a source in the service said.

On Monday, Sergey Donskoy, the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, had instructed they hydrometeorological service to ensure the security of the Troynoy island weather station’s personnel given the danger of possible encounters with bears. The minister had also requested that all necessary measures be taken to protect the animals and asked the Head of Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, Alexander Frolov, to take personal control of the situation. Five people, two married couples among them, currently work at the weather station.

Polar bears are registered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and in the Red Book of Russia as an endangered species. Polar bear hunting has been banned in the country since 1957.