Last week, a polar bear specialist from the Institute of Biological Problems of the North said the bears now visit Ryrkaypiy so often that the village should be evacuated, and its roughly 700 residents resettled.
Anatoly Kochnev told Tass news agency that polar bear visits are increasingly frequent – and that just five years ago, only about five bears got close to the village.
“I as a scientist believe [Ryrkaypiy village] should not remain there,” he said. “We try to control the situation, but nobody would want to think what may happen there in three to five years.”
The region’s animal protection official Yegor Vereshchagin told Tass that if residents wished to leave, “they could organise a referendum”.