'Exhausted' and starving polar bear found wandering 400 miles away from home
Russian authorities have started getting more and more concerned about a polar bear that has been spotted wandering in a village, hundreds of miles away from its usual habitat in search of food.
Local reports said that the bear, which can be seen in photographs looking exhausted but did not show any signs of being aggressive, was seen multiple times over the past five days in the village of Tilichiki in the far eastern region of Kamchatka.
Many local residents have posted images and videos of the bear foraging for food.
State-controlled news agency Ria Novosti reported that the bear had traveled to the village around 700 kilometers south (434 miles) from Chukotka all the way to the peninsula. The theory is that the bear may have floated on a chunk of ice from the Bering Sea.
Across the Arctic, sea ice is retreating very rapidly due to climate change and this forces polar bears to travel farther and farther away from their homes in search of food.
Alina Ukolova told CNN that she took multiple pictures and videos of the bear wandering into the village of Tilichiki on April 16. She then posted the harrowing images on Instagram.
She told the news outlet: "The bear is about two years old. 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."
According to Ria Novosti, the authorities in the region are planning to sedate the animal and airlift it back to its home of Chukotka on April 20.
One user commented on the photo-sharing site: "It's obvious that the bear is starving! You can see that he lost quite a lot of weight from his long journey."
Ukolova posted a couple of images of the bear on April 18 along with a caption saying that the bear has become more active and that it was even gone from the spot for some time, presumably to hunt for some food.
This is not the first case of polar bear displacement that has been caused by the rapidly changing climate conditions. In February this year, a remote Russian archipelago called Novaya Zemlya declared a state of emergency after the local authorities described that there was an "invasion" by dozens of extremely hungry animals.