Polar bears may look cute and cuddly when you see them in YouTube videos or in Coca-Cola commercials, but we're pretty sure you wouldn't want a pack of them to invade your hometown. And yet that's exactly what's happening to one town in Russia.
Novaya Zemlya, Russia has declared a state of emergency after 52 polar bears invaded their town. Since December, the bears have been seen all around the town, and have displayed aggressive behavior, including breaking into homes and public buildings. People in the town are supposedly afraid to go outside now, and the daily life has been thrown into turmoil. They can't even use the army to help, because the bears are constantly inside the local military garrison.
Now, it's not that 50 bears are constantly roaming the streets like a gang in West Side Story. But people in the town say six to ten bears are consistently in public areas at all times.
You may be wondering why they don't just shoot the bears. It is Russia after all. But polar bears are endangered, and there are laws banning people from killing them. In fact, local officials have repeatedly warned citizens that despite the mayhem, they will be prosecuted if they shoot any bears. Supposedly the town has reached out to the national government to rescind the polar bear shooting ban, but it's been denied.
Specialist are being sent to the town to help teach citizens how to discourage the bears from coming around their homes or other public areas. However residents say they've used some of the tactics already to no success.
The hidden story to this is that this situation will likely become more prevalent in future years as the polar ice caps melt, forcing polar bears and other arctic animals further and further south in order to find places to live.
No word yet on whether the town has tried banning Coca-Cola as a solution.
(h/t Daily Mail)