Weak Arctic ice sees 56 polar bears descend on Russian village

Polar bears outside the village of Ryrkaypiy in the Chukotka region of Russia’s far north. (AFP)
Updated 06 December 2019

Weak Arctic ice sees 56 polar bears descend on Russian village

  • The WWF said 56 polar bears had gathered in a one-square-kilometer area near the village of Ryrkaipy in Chukotka
  • There were concerns they could enter the village, home to fewer than 1,000 people, and patrols had been set up to monitor their movements

MOSCOW: More than 50 polar bears have gathered on the edge of a village in Russia’s far north, environmentalists and residents said, as weak Arctic ice leaves them unable to roam.
The Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund said climate change was to blame, as unusually warm temperatures prevented coastal ice from forming.
The WWF said 56 polar bears had gathered in a one-square-kilometer (0.4-square-mile) area near the village of Ryrkaipy in Chukotka on the northeastern tip of Russia.
There were concerns they could enter the village, home to fewer than 1,000 people, and patrols had been set up to monitor their movements.
“The number of human and predator encounters in the Arctic is increasing,” the WWF said in statement.
“The main reason is the decline of sea ice area due to the changing climate. In the absence of ice cover, animals are forced to go ashore in search of food.”

Residents had gathered walrus carcasses in the area to try to keep the bears from wandering into the village.
“We have created a feeding point with walrus carcasses that we gathered along the coast,” Tatyana Minenko of the local “Bear Patrol” told news agency RIA Novosti.
“As long as there is no big freeze, the sea ice will not form and the bears will stay on the coast,” she said.
Russia’s weather service said temperatures in the region should fall from Saturday and that coastal ice should freeze by December 11.
Polar bears regularly visit areas inhabited by humans in Arctic Russia to search for food, often in rubbish tips.
But the number of visits has been growing as the melting of Arctic ice from climate change forces the bears to spend more time on land where they compete for food.


Indian man wears gold face mask to ward off coronavirus

Updated 04 July 2020

Indian man wears gold face mask to ward off coronavirus

  • The precious metal covering weighs 60 grams (two ounces) and took craftsmen eight days to make

PUNE: An Indian man said he paid about $4,000 for a bespoke gold face mask to protect him from the coronavirus raging in the country.
The precious metal covering weighs 60 grams (two ounces) and took craftsmen eight days to make, said businessman Shankar Kurhade, from the western city of Pune.
“It is a thin mask and has tiny pores that is helping me to breathe,” Shankar told AFP.
“I am not sure if it will be effective to protect me from a coronavirus infection but I am taking other precautions,” he added.
When going out, the 49-year-old said he likes to adorn himself with gold jewelry weighing a kilogramme, including a bracelet, necklace and rings on each finger of his right hand.
Kurhade — whose company makes industrial sheds — said he got the idea for the gold face mask after seeing a media report about a man wearing one made from silver.
“People are asking me for selfies,” he said.
“They are awestruck when they see me wearing the gold mask in markets.”
India has made face masks mandatory in public places in a bid to control the spread of the virus in the country, which has around 650,000 confirmed cases and more than 18,600 fatalities.