8/20/2011 5:42:41 PM

Three Polar Bears Killed in Russia

A tragic encounter with a polar bear led to the death of a 33-year-old man in the coastal village Cape Schmidt, Russia. Authorities responded by shooting the three-year-old bear that attacked the man, along with two other polar bears—a mother and her 18-month-old cub—that had been hanging around.

Although few details are available about the incident, authorities report that a total of five polar bears had been spotted around a pig farm in the village.

Although polar bear attacks are rare, this summer has seen a spike in human-polar bear encounters, including the recent tragic incident in Svalbard, Norway, in which a teenage camper was killed and four other campers were injured. 

"Although we're uncertain of all the factors that may have led to each event, we can be 100% certain that the frequency of these sorts of events will increase as the availability of essential sea ice habitat of polar bears continues to decline in space and time," says PBI's chief scientist, Dr. Steven C. Amstrup.

Hungry bears that are forced off their seal-hunting grounds by melting ice will seek food elsewhere—and that means more polar bears will show up in coastal villages in the Arctic, with often tragic results for both polar bears and people.

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