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Hungry polar bear sieges Russians for 2 days

There is nothing funny about work in Arctic. And a group of Russians at an Arctic weather station felt it on their own back. They spent two nerve-wracking days hiding in an attic while waiting for permission from Moscow to shoot a hungry polar bear rampaging through their house.

Hungry polar bear sieges Russians for 2 daysThe meteorologists and two gamekeepers were among the latest in Russia's far north-eastern Chukotka region to encounter polar bears stranded by melting ice while following their winter migration routes across the Arctic.

"The hungry bear broke into the weather station, tore apart two dogs and went in to find food in the house," the Izvestia daily reported Thursday. The inhabitants "hid in the attic, where they sat two days. They waited until they got permission to shoot the animal, which was given by the environmental ministry in Moscow."

The newspaper reported that about 170 polar bears, which are a protected species, have been stranded along Russia's Arctic shore during unseasonally warm temperatures.

"Every year the ice forms later. For example, right now the ice is not thick enough to support the polar bear and the animal is being forced to look for food where people are," Anatoly Kochnyov, an expert with the Pacific Fisheries and Oceanography Scientific Institute, was quoted as saying.

Locals in far-flung villages have been warned not to go out at night or to leave their vehicles when traveling, while rubbish tips have been masked with oil to cover the scent, Izvestia said.






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12/2008 02/2009


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