Polar Bears Invade Towns on Russian Islands

Category: Top Stories


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. vast / vɑːst / (adj) – having an extremely great size or amount

    I’m impressed by the island’s vast natural resources.

  2. disrupt / dɪsˈrʌpt / (v) – to cause an interruption

    The wild animal in the area disrupted the people’s activities.

  3. barricade / ˈberəˌkeɪd / (v) – to prevent something or someone from entering or leaving a place

    The family barricaded themselves in their home during the snow storm.

  4. futile / ˈfjuːtl̟ / (adj) – useless

    Their plan to protect the environment was futile because no one participated.

  5. ward (something) off / woɚd ɑːf / (phrasal) – to stop something negative or unpleasant from happening

    Drinking lots of water can ward colds off.


Read the text below.

A polar bear invasion on some Russian islands had resulted in a state of emergency.

  1. The bears appeared in towns on Russia’s Novaya Zemlya [noh-VUH-yuh ZEM-lee-ah] islands. These animals invaded the towns because vast areas of sea ice where they hunt melted due to climate change. The disappearance of ice forced the creatures to travel to a wide area of land to search for food. This area of land included places where people live and work.

Upon invading the towns, the bears disrupted the residents’ daily routines by forcing their way into homes, buildings, and even a military base. Some of the bears also attacked people, causing fear of more attacks in the future.

In spite of the attacks, the people in the affected areas are forbidden from shooting the bears because these animals are considered a threatened species. Because of this, the towns’ residents came up with some safety measures. These include barricading themselves in their homes, building additional fences near kindergartens, using more secure transportation to travel to workplaces, and getting dogs for security.

However, these added security measures proved futile against the bears. The creatures refused to be driven away even with the use of police patrol vehicles, dogs, and other means of warding them off.

To resolve the crisis, the Russian government sent experts to capture the bears and take them out of the islands. If preventing more bear attacks is not possible at the moment, a plan of eliminating them through selective killing will be implemented.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree that the bears should not be shot even when they attack people? Why or why not?
• What other actions should the Russian government take to prevent bear attacks? Discuss.

Discussion B

• In what instances do you think a state of emergency should be declared?
• In your opinion, how should people act during a state of emergency?