Written by Jong Ching Yee

What Happened?

On Novaya Zemlya, a Russian archipelago, authorities have declared a state of emergency after dozens of polar bears invaded homes and public buildings. The archipelago has a population of around 3,000 people and now, they are afraid to get out of their homes.

According to the locals, they are trying their best to continue with their daily lives by travelling out in their cars and carrying stun grenades as a precaution. Now, security personnel are conducting constant patrols. Officials are even considering the worst case scenario of culling the polar bears in order to protect the people.

Such a phenomenon has been attributed to one of the many consequences of climate change. The natural habitats of polar bears have been destroyed by the soaring global average temperatures. As a result, they are forced to search for food outside of their usual habitats and start sharing living spaces with humans.


The Deeper Problem

The Russians have been wary of their new neighbours because when polar bears get hungry, they may hunt for humans. Polar bears are not the only animals to be displaced from their natural habitats. In the Southern Hemisphere, the rising temperatures in the summer have made it unbearable for kangaroos and flying foxes. The marsupials invaded homes in Canberra due to a drought, forcing them to forage for food elsewhere for survival.

Climate change will exacerbate the situation and increase these negative interactions between humans and wildlife. Currently, the group of 52 polar bears on the Russian island are feeding on rubbish generated by human beings. In the near future, more wildlife could be competing with humans for the limited amount of resources available on land.

As humans, we can do so much more to prevent similar situations from happening in other parts of the world. These wildlife should not be suffering because of the irresponsible actions of humans.


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