In what had to be one of the most terrifying incidents for any field researcher in a remote Siberian outpost, 10 aggressive polar bears surrounded a cabin with five weather observers inside for two weeks.
After running out of flares and losing one of two dogs to a polar bear attack, resupplies were shipped in to the group on Troynoy island in the Kara Sea to ward off the hungry beasts. During the siege a window was broken and one of the bears took to sleeping under a window. With nowhere to go and nothing to eat, these bears were willing to wait them out.
For the past two weeks, venturing outside the cabin was out of the question, forcing the group to abandon its research duties. With more flares in addition to electronic sirens and a dog to replace the one the bears ate, they hope to finally scare the polar bears away. But it just might take the presence of more sea ice as winter sets in before they finally move on.
While scientists have been manning the station to document the effects of the global warming, the aggressive behavior by these polar bears helped to exemplify the situation more than anything else. Cutoff by depleted sea ice, these bears had nowhere to go but wait out the only source of food, in this case humans.
“The bears usually go to other islands, but this year they didn’t. The ice receded quickly and the bears didn’t have time to swim to other islands,” Yelena Novikova, a spokeswoman for the monitoring station told the Russian news agency TASS. “There’s no food on [Troynoy] island, so they came up to the station.”
In another bear attack in Siberia, a geologist working for a diamond mining company was killed by a grizzly bear. Fellow workmates reportedly heard the man screaming after stepping outside a cabin around 11 pm, according to Siberian Times.
They found blood and torn clothing but could not immediately locate his body until two days later when they found him buried in soil and debris about 200 meters away.
Photo credit: Photolenta