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Starving Polar Bear Discovered In Siberia After Wandering For Hundreds Of Miles

mason.zimmer 20 Jun 2019

The more we hear about the ravages that climate change is inflicting on our world, the harder it is to be optimistic about the planet's future. At least a million different species now face extinction and although the specific reasons vary between them, there is a great deal of overlap between them.

After all, a creature that experiences the loss of its food sources, its habitat, or both doesn't have much hope for survival.

And unfortunately, some people throughout the world are noticing that the effects of this crisis are getting close to home. And the residents of one Russian city saw a recent reminder of this reality.

Norilsk, Russia is an industrial city located in northern Siberia.

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The city is known for its nickel production, but it's not usually famous for hosting polar bears as according to The Guardian, one hasn't been seen there for about 40 years.

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That is, however, until one was spotted near a factory northeast of the city center.

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The female polar bear had apparently wandered hundreds of miles from its arctic habitat and somehow found herself hungry and exhausted in Norilsk.

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By Tuesday, she had made her way to a suburb in the city, where she appeared even worse for wear.

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As The Guardian reported, she appeared weak and possibly ill as she lied on the ground and occasionally rose to sniff for food.

As you can see, her feet were also covered with mud.

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Although it's not clear exactly what brought the bear to Norilsk, her wandering seems part of a larger trend.

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As their sea ice habitats melt away, Arctic polar bears are finding themselves forced to scavenge for food on land, which can sometimes put them in contact with human populations.

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It's possible that the bear in Norilsk had gotten lost while on one of these scavenger hunts.

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Wildlife expert Oleg Krashevsky described her as having "watery eyes" and discovered that this had obstructed her vision.

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As residents tried to photograph the bear, police blocked them from getting close to her.

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As Alexander Korobkin from the area's environmental services said, "She is still moving around a factory, under observation by police and the emergency services, who are ensuring her safety and those of residents."

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Other wildlife specialists arrived yesterday to evaluate the bear's condition.

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According to The Siberian Times they found that the bear suffered from intense diarrhea after eating garbage and will need immediate medical attention.

She is expected to fly to Krasnoyarsk, another Siberian city, where she will spend several days in quarantine.

h/t: The Guardian

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