A lone polar bear, hundreds of miles away from its home, has wandered into the streets of Norilsk, a city located in northern Siberia.
Videos surfaced of this lone polar bear ambling around the city on social media and quickly went viral. On June 16, the polar bear was seen walking around the city in an industrial area. She looks thin, covered in mud, and a very long way from her home in Artic.
“Here are the latest photos of [the] polar bear! This is a rather large beast!” exclaims the translated post, shown above.
The post goes on to mention that the polar bear was reported to Emergency Services in Siberia. In the viral videos and posts, she can be seen sleeping on dirty mounds of ice and wandering around the city. Many believe that the climate change crisis the reason for this polar bear’s mysterious and sudden appearance.
According to Siberian environmentalists, a polar bear hasn’t been spotted in Norilsk for more than 40 years.
As world temperatures continue to rise, polar bears’ sea-ice habitats continue to disappear at an alarming rate, forcing them farther into inhabited areas in search of food. Undoubtedly, this female polar bear was doing the same and found herself miles away from her Arctic home.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, polar bears have been given a “vulnerable” status and the protection of their habitat has been deemed an urgent issue.
Due to the ongoing loss of sea ice from climate change, the polar bear population has dropped to an estimated range of just 22,000 – 31,000 polar bears left in the wild.
“She is still moving around a factory, under observation by police and other emergency services, who are ensuring her safety and those of residents,” said Alexander Korobkin, an environmental services official.
According to The Guardian, a team of specialists is expected to arrive shortly or Norilsk and decide how to safely relocate the polar bear. It’s not clear yet what course of action environmentalists will choose for this bear.
Experts have said that the lost polar bear does not seem to be in good health, having watery eyes and not being able to see very well.
According to Anatoly Nikolaychyuk, the head of Taymyr Department of State Hunting Control, in an interview with the Siberian Times, there are only a few possibilities for this lost polar bear: she can either be relocated to her natural habitat or find her a new home in a zoo, or wildlife preserve.
Hopefully this polar bear will find a happy home where she can recover and get the medical attention she needs. However, the problem of disappearing sea-ice habitats is not so easily solved.
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