The Novaya Zemlya islands have been overrun by dozens of polar bears and there have been cases of bears attacking people and entering residential buildings. The bears are coming into human settlements as their habitat is affected by climate change and they are forced on land to hunt for food. Residents of the remote village are “afraid to go outside” and “daily life is in turmoil”, according to Aleksandr Minayev, deputy head of the local administration.
He said: “People are scared, afraid to leave their homes, their daily routines are being broken, and parents are unwilling to let their children go to school or kindergarten.
“Parents are wary of letting children to go to schools and kindergartens.”
Authorities have prevented anyone from hunting or shooting the bears as they are an endangered species.
The Russian agency tasked with protecting natural resources denied a request by local officials to shoot the bears.
However the bears are no longer frightened of police patrols and signals so drastic measures are needed to control them.
If no other means can be found to scare off the bears, a cull could be the only answer.
The archipelago’s main settlement of Belushya Guba has reported a total of 52 bears and between six and 10 on its territory at most times.
Local administration head Vigansha Musin said: “I’ve been on Novaya Zemlya since 1963. There’s never been such a mass invasion of polar bears.”
His deputy said normal life was being disrupted but the threat.
Mr Musin added the polar bears are “literally chasing people and even entering the entrances of residential buildings” as videos posted on YouTube show.
There have been reports of the wild animals attacking people, entering residences and offices and rooting through rubbish.
Schools and villages have filed statements saying they are worried about security.
One resident said the bears are no longer afraid of people and have become “insolent.”
“There are no more enemies. That is they became insolent. This is scary. When they walk under your window at night, it is creepy,” the resident added.
The town is mostly occupied by Russian military personnel.
The government in Moscow has promised to send in a team of specialists to deal with the bears.