Arctic: Tourists Meet 200 Polar Bears On An Wrangel Island, On Wrangel Island, polar bears stay on average one month longer than twenty years ago. An “abnormally high” number according to the observers.
They would have almost believed in a mirage in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. On board a boat visiting them in the north-east of Siberia, tourists witnessed an extraordinary encounter.
While they thought they could see small packs of pack ice on the horizon, the tourist group finally realized that it was attending a gathering of polar bears. Massed around the carcass of a whale stranded on the shore, 200 polar bears were gathered on Wrangel Island, in the Russian Far East.
According to Alexander Gruzdev, the director of the island’s nature reserve, the bear group included many families, including two mothers, each of whom was followed by four cubs. “We were all stunned,” says one of the witnesses of this meeting described as “unique”.
Although the meeting is grandiose, it is not so positive. According to scientists, it illustrates above all the consequences of global warming. Indeed, if Arctic polar bear populations are forced to stay on dry land, it is because of the ice melting itself caused by rising temperatures.
While the bears come every year to Wrangel Island (located in the Chukchi Sea) between August and November, they tend to prolong their stay and to get closer to the surrounding villages. . As Eric Regehr, an expert at the University of Washington, tells AFP , polar bears spend an average of one month more on the island than twenty years ago. He is particularly concerned about the “unusually high” number of bears recorded this fall: 589, more than double the previous estimates.