‘Exhausted’ polar bear found prowling for food in Russian village, 400 miles from home

By Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN

(CNN) — Russian authorities are growing increasingly concerned about a polar bear that has been wandering in a village hundreds of miles from its usual habitat in search of food, according to local reports.

The bear, which looks exhausted but doesn’t show any signs of aggression, has been spotted several times over the past five days in the village of Tilichiki in the far eastern Kamtchatka Peninsula, according to local residents who have posted photos and videos on social media.

Russian state-controlled news agency Ria Novosti reported that the bear had traveled about 700 kilometers south (434 miles) from Chukotka to the peninsula by sailing on a chunk of ice from the Bering Sea.

Sea ice across the Arctic is rapidly retreating due to climate change, forcing the bears to travel farther to find food.

Alina Ukolova told CNN she took videos and pictures of the polar bear wandering in Tilichiki on Tuesday and posted them on Instagram.

“The bear is about two years old,” she told CNN. “It is not very used to living independently, they usually live with their mother until they’re about three.

“It is exhausted, not aggressive. Locals feed him fish, and he eats it. Today, it felt better and went hunting.”

Authorities in Kamchatka are planning to sedate the bear and airlift it back to Chukotka, according to Ria Novosti.

It would not be the first polar bear displacement thought to be caused by climate change. In February, the remote Russian archipelago of Novaya Zemlaya declared a state of emergency over what local authorities described as an “invasion” by dozens of the hungry animals.

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