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Polar bear found around 700km from home as climate change blamed for habitat loss | #TheCube

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By Trent Murray
Polar bear found around 700km from home as climate change blamed for habitat loss | #TheCube

A wayward polar bear has wandered hundreds of kilometres from its home in Russia’s Far East.

The bear was spotted on Wednesday by locals in the village of Tilichiki. Its natural habitat is thought to be around 700km away in the northern arctic region around Chukotka.

Local resident Alina Ukolov told Euronews the week and tired bear's arrival took locals by surprise.

“He was exhausted for several days. People in the village treated him with understanding and care. The bear was not aggressive and we fed him fish. We have a lot of brown bears here, but white ones are very rare,” she said.

The bear appears to have slowly regained strength following help from locals.

"Today I've seen that he has already begun to walk, and even started hunting!" Ukolov said.

Too far south

Speaking to the Associated Press, Vladimir Chuprov, Head of the Energy Unit at Greenpeace Russia, said the video of the disorientated bear indicates it travelled a long way.

"The nearest habitat for polar bears to the settlement of Tilichiki on the Northern Kamchatka is Chukotka, a few hundred kilometres away. Most likely, judging by the video, the bear floated from there."

The environmentalist said the polar bear could have been displaced after drifting from home on a floating ice floe.

"The conditions where polar bears live is being lost due to climate change. The Arctic is getting warmer and hunting environments are getting smaller. The ice is receding, and polar bears look for new ways to survive. And the easiest way is coming to people," he said.


Airlift operation

According to Ukolov authorities in the area are preparing to transport the bear back home in a much faster way than he arrived.

"Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow he will be evacuated, transported by helicopter to Chukotka, to its traditional habitat," she said.

Euronews has contacted the Russian Government's press service for details on the planned rescue operation.