Avoiding Problems With Polar Bears in the Russian Arctic

The head of the local administration of the native settlement Varnek (Vaigach Island). Photo: Margarita Petrenuk

As part of a multi-country project to reduce conflict situations between people and polar bears, WWF representatives have undertaken an expedition to Vaygach Island off the northwest coast of Russia.

The island is visited by many polar bears over the course of the year, and there are some small settlements there also, mostly inhabited by Indigenous Nenets people.

WWF staff together with researchers visited the Fyodorov polar station at the Bolvansky Nos cape, the village of Varnek, and local fishermen’s fishing areas on the western coast of Vaigach Island.

The expedition participants gave instructions to polar station workers and local residents on how to behave when encountering polar bears, spoke on ways to frighten off polar bears, and gave them items for scaring away the animals.