A dozen polar bears fell upon five Russian researchers for two weeks in an Arctic weather station before rescue arrived Wednesday.
The bears ate the station’s guard dog and the meteorologists quickly ran out of signal flares used to scare them away.
Rescue came in the form chartered oil tanker that resupplied the station with flares and several puppies, which are not yet big enough to deter the bears. The bears were ultimately scared off by a rescue helicopter from the tanker. The station is planning to draft in a replacement adult guard dog as soon as possible.
Some of the bears had begun sleeping right outside the station’s windows, according to Russian state-run news agency TASS. The weather station is on one of the Izvestiy TSIK Islands in the high Arctic near Canada, and is roughly 2,800 miles from Moscow.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released a report showing polar bear populations had actually increased since the 1990s. IUCN estimated there are between 20,000 and 31,000 polar bears worldwide. Researchers at Canada’s Lakehead University published research in March that there is “no evidence” polar bears are currently threatened by global warming.
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