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Now Reading: HUNDRED MILES FROM HOME | Exhausted polar bear wanders into Siberian city
HUNDRED MILES FROM HOME | Exhausted polar bear wanders into Siberian city
June 20, 2019 , 08:12 AM

JUNE 20, 2019 (REUTERS) — A starving polar bear has strayed hundreds of kilometers from its natural Arctic habitat and wandered, exhausted, into the major Russian industrial city of Norilsk in northern Siberia.

The female bear, visibly weak and seemingly ill, lay despondently on the ground for hours on Tuesday (June 18) in Norilsk’s suburbs, its feet caked in mud, occasionally rising to sniff around for food.

A stray polar bear is seen in the industrial city of Norilsk, Russia June 17, 2019. Picture taken on June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Irina Yarinskaya/Zapolyarnaya Pravda

It is the first polar bear seen in the city in more than 40 years, according to local environmentalists.

Oleg Krashevsky, a local wildlife expert who filmed the polar bear close-up, said it was unclear what had brought the animal to the city, although it was possible it had simply got lost. He said it had watery eyes and could clearly not see well.

A hungry polar bear has been spotted on the outskirts of Norilsk, hundreds of miles from its natural habitat, authorities said on June 18, 2019.

Climate change has been damaging polar bears’ sea-ice habitats and forced them to scavenge more for food on land, bringing them into contact with people and inhabited areas.

A state of emergency was declared in a remote inhabited area of northern Russian earlier this year when dozens of hungry polar bears were seen scavenging for food and entering public buildings and homes.

State wildlife experts are expected to arrive in Norilsk on Wednesday (June 19) to assess the bear’s condition.

Local residents in the city known for nickel production came out to photograph the bear and look at it as police prevented them from getting too close.

Krashevsky said it was not clear what would be done with the polar bear as it looked too weak to be taken back to its natural habitat.

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