Skinny polar bear far inland in Siberia not due to sea ice loss but a rare normal event

A thin polar bear has wandered more than 1000km south of the Kara Sea into the Siberian town of Norilsk, which has happened at least once before in the 1970s. It is reminiscent of a similar incident this past winter in Alaska and there is no reason to blame this on lack of sea ice.

Norilsk starving bear 17 June 2019 Siberian Times photo

From the Siberian Times earlier today (17 June 2019) comes the report that a bear that did not get enough to eat this spring (due to any number of reasons, including competition from larger, stronger bears) and went looking for easier food sources. No mention is made that this incident should be blamed on global warming.

Update 18 June 2019: Lack of any evidence that this incident was due to lack of sea ice didn’t stop Reuters from implying this was indeed the case, a theme picked up by the UK Telegraph, the BBC, and The Guardian.

Norilsk starving bear 17 June 2019 Siberian Times map

Quotes and video from the story below.

“Norilsk is some 500 km from the open shore yet locals believe the bear has walked much further to reach the city, crossing the vast Taymyr Peninsula.

On his journey to the Talnakh district of Norilsk the predator has walked into brown bear territory.

Reports say the bear is likely to be moved to the Royev Ruchei Zoo in Krasnoyarsk, although some residents are campaigning to see the bear sent back under sedation to the coast.

Oleg Krashevsky – who specialises in tours to the remote Putorana plateau – posted: ‘I don’t understand how the bear could have walked such distance, across Taymyr and not come across anyone.

‘He must have encountered many hunters.

‘The same thing happened in 1970’s when a polar bear showed up at an explosives warehouse around the same place as this time.’

The video below is a reminder that starving bears are virtually never a sign of reduced sea ice blamed on global warming. Starvation is the leading natural cause of death for polar bears.

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