Russian researchers saved from becoming an easy meal for hungry predators
Weather scientists on Troynoy Island in the Kara Sea were saved from an ongoing siege with some more permanent residents of the island on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.
Seven bears had surrounded a weather station on the island, in the Russian arctic, and held five researchers captive inside over the past few days. Despite being outnumbered, the scientists have managed to reclaim their research territory with the help of more flares, dogs, and a helicopter visit – all provided by a passing ship crewed by fellow researchers.
The bears – members of an endangered species that Nature drew attention to on Wednesday – had killed one of the two dogs based at the station, and smashed some of the station’s windows, whilst scientists remained trapped inside. Due to their protected species status, researchers rely on flares to drive the bears away – a problem when supplies are low.
Supplies weren’t just low for the researchers. With a warming arctic climate and limited sources of food, some have suggested that polar bear aggression towards humans is on the rise across the arctic.