About 60 polar bears descended on Ryrkaypiy in Russia's remote Chukotka region to search for food. This forced public events to be canceled and humans to shelter inside.
There are females with cubs of different ages. Ryrkaypiy has a population of about 500 residents. Higher than usual temperatures are causing ice to melt, which is affecting the bears' hunting habits. Volunteers and residents have started patrolling the area around the village, including schools and kindergartens. Fewer than five years ago, it would have been unusual to see a group of more than three to five polar bears near the village. Fortunatelly, the polar bears have usually remained calm when they come close to people. The last time a bear killed a human in Ryrkaypiy was in 2011.
"We try to control the situation, but nobody would want to think what may happen there in three to five years," Anatoly Kochnev, a scientist at Russia's Institute of Biological Problems of the North, told media. Mikhail Stishov, Arctic biodiversity projects coordinator for WWF-Russia, said commenting the situation: "If there is enough ice, the bears would go further north to hunt the seals.”