Polar bears on Taimyr change behavior
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Polar bears on Taimyr change behavior

October 21, 2020

Polar predators are mostly staying on land rather than going to the ocean.

Polar bears roam along with seasonal changes in the boundaries of the polar ice. In the summer they leave with the ice to the north, in the winter – to the south. However, the warmer it gets in the Arctic, the more difficult it becomes for the predators to find food and, therefore, their behavior becomes more unpredictable.

Observations of the last two years on Taimyr have shown changes in the habitual path of the predator, writes TASS with reference to the director of the Central Siberian Reserve Pavel Kochkarev, who has recently returned from another expedition to Taimyr. When it gets warmer, the edge of the ice goes far north, and the predators remain on land.

“In summer, the density of the bear along the coast and islands is very increased. Naturally, this leads to clashes with people who live at polar stations and work on expeditions”, said Pavel Kochkarev.

He added that sometimes such clashes end tragically, as, for example, in Yakutia, on the Bolshoy Lyahovsky island of the Novosibirsk Islands archipelago, where not so long ago a polar bear attacked a reindeer breeder and injured him.

At the same time, scientists agree that the population of the polar predators is being affected by the shrinking sea ice in the Arctic. Leonid Kolpashchikov, head of the science department of the Joint Directorate of Taimyr Reserves, told TASS about this. According to the expert, in search of food, the polar bear goes to villages, stations, and masters garbage dumps. Now in the vicinity of the station at cape Chelyuskin, three adult bears and a couple of cubs are roaming.

“The increase in the open water period is forcing more and more polar bears to stay on the shore for a long period. Animals sometimes enter the mainland to a depth of 100 kilometers, which may be associated with the search for food. In such cases, as a rule, conflict relationships between a polar bear and a person arise. This is one of the serious problems”, Leonid Kolpashchikov emphasized.

He also said that, observing the animals over the past six years, scientists noticed that bears began to actively explore walrus rookeries on the coast of the Laptev sea and the Kara sea.

Scientists warn: there are cases when animals go far from the sea coast, much further than 100 kilometers. The most striking example of this is the bear’s last year’s visit to Norilsk. Prior to this, a polar bear was seen in the northern city back in 1978.

As previously reported, the number of these animals in Taimyr and the Arctic islands ranges from 1.6 to 2.2 thousand individuals. The researchers plan to study the population of polar bears throughout the Arctic. A draft strategy for the conservation of this predator is being finalized.

Text: Mikhail Tuaev, Photo: open sources

October 21, 2020

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