Russia vows not to shoot dozens of polar bears terrorising Arctic town

Russia vows not to shoot dozens of polar bears after they invaded an Arctic town and ‘chased terrified residents’ amid fears plan to relocate predators will end in disaster

  • More than 50 polar bears invaded town on Novaya Zemlya archipelago in Russia
  • Russian officials are preparing an urgent operation to remove the predators
  • They have vowed not to shoot animals and will transport them to new location
  • But a WWF expert in Russia warned plan to relocate them will not end in disaster 

Russia has vowed not to shoot dozens of polar bears terrorising an Arctic town amid fears a plan to relocate the predators will end in disaster.

Officials are preparing an urgent operation to sedate and remove the 52 bears after they invaded Belushya Guba on Russia’s Novaya Zemlya archipelago and started ‘chasing’ frightened locals.

The beasts will be transported a long distance away from the town – but critics of the scheme warn they could rapidly come back.

Extraordinary pictures and video show how people are living in fear in the settlement with polar bears stalking apartment blocks and scavenging at dumps.

Russia has vowed not to shoot dozens of polar bears terrorising an Arctic town amid fears a plan to relocate the predators will end in disaster. More than a dozen polar bears are pictured searching through a pile of rubbish amid a state of emergency and fears that the animals no longer feel scared of patrols

Invasion: A polar bear prowls inside a building, one of more than 50 of the endangered animals who have been terrorising residents in a remote Arctic archipelago in Russia 

The head of the local settlement said that Russia’s nature conservancy agency Rosprirodnadzor – which bans slaughtering the endangered wild animals – is sending a team to the remote islands to sedate and move the animals.

‘We have introduced a state of emergency in the settlements for an unlimited time,’ said Zhigansha Musin.

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‘We asked Rosprirodnadzor to provide us with people. They will catch the bears.

‘The predators will be put to sleep and taken out of the settlement. We will not shoot them. We already have a group of four people.’

The operation to clear the town of polar bears should begin within days after the specialists fly in on Tuesday, he said.

Aggressive: A polar bear at a playground on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in northern Russia, with parents left worried about sending their children to schools and kindergartens

Lurking: One of the polar bears, who cannot legally be shot because they are endangered 

On Sunday his deputy Aleksandr Minayev warned that residents are ‘afraid to go outside’ and ‘daily life is in turmoil’.

‘Parents are wary of letting children to go to schools and kindergartens,’ he said.

Footage shows the bears entering apartment blocks.

But a WWF expert in Russia blamed the country’s defence ministry – which controls the territory around the settlement – for failing to act sooner.

And he forecast the plan to move the bears would end in disaster.

‘Everyone knew this might happen,’ said Mikhail Stishov, WWF coordinator for Arctic biodiversity projects.

‘There are many more polar bears on shores because of lengthy absence of ice.

‘They come to the shore, attracted by human settlements which they specially like when the rubbish disposal system is not set up properly.’

Archipelago authorities had known a problem was coming, he said.

But the Defence Ministry earlier banned WWF experts from visiting the restricted military area, he said.

Presence: Two of the dozens of polar bears regularly spotted in the area. People are ‘afraid to go outside’ and ‘daily life is in turmoil’, a local official said 

He warned: ‘It’s not at all cheap and easy, to sedate and move them away.

‘We have to transport them really far, because if we just take them some 20, 30 kilometres they will be be back very soon to an area which they know has food.

‘So we are talking about a minimum of a two or three hour flight to the other side of the island.

‘And of course it will be next to impossible to move all 50 bears. But if the scientists identity a pack of leaders, or the most daring bears, then taking just them away might be worth trying.

‘The experts who will travel there have all necessary equipment and means to solve the problem.’

Alexey Kokorin, head of the WWF climate programme, said: ‘These are males, because females and cubs are hibernating.

‘But in fact both males and females see humans for just one thing – food.

Playground: One of the animals roams around a Russian yard on the Arctic archipelago 

‘I think there is no other animal like polar bears that so deliberately chases humans.

‘Once they see these strange-looking two-legged seals, they know ‘Ok, this is food’.’

Musin said: ‘I have been in Novaya Zemlya since 1983, yet I’ve never seen such a massive polar bear invasion.’

The animals are ‘literally chasing people and even entering the entrances of residential buildings’.

Shooting in the air, sounding car horns and erecting fences have all failed so far to quell the bar invasion.

Russian laws forbid the slaughter of polar bears except in specific cases where they attack humans.

The besieged town is five miles from a Russian military base.

Some experts say climate change is to blame for the bears behaviour – because the ocean is no longer frozen. 

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Sister of man accused of shooting at Houston police officers offers prayers: 'We are so sorry'

‘Enough is enough’: Houston Police Union blasts anti-law enforcement narrative

The sister of a man who was killed in a shootout with Houston police officers on Monday offered prayers for the five officers injured in the incident.

“We are so sorry that this situation happened,” Elizabeth Ferrari, the sister of Dennis Tuttle, told the Houston Chronicle. “My prayers (are) for the officers and their families.”


On Tuesday, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said a team of nine narcotics officers was attempting to serve a search warrant and “immediately came under fire” upon entering a home in the the city's southeast side. One of the suspects, 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas, was shot and killed as she tried to grab the service weapon of the first officer to be injured, he said. The second suspect killed was 59-year-old Tuttle, the chief said.

Dennis Tuttle, 59, left and Rhogena Nicholas, 58, were identified as the suspects.
(Houston Police Department)

Acevedo said the first officer through the door was charged at by a large pit bull, which he shot and killed. Acevedo said Tuttle immediately opened fire, striking that officer in the shoulder. Four officers were shot and a fifth suffered a knee injury. The names of the officers were not released because they work undercover.

The shooting erupted as members of the Houston police narcotics unit responded to a residence they suspected was a hub for drug dealing, particularly the sale of “street-level narcotics” like “black tar heroin,” Acevedo said. The undercover officers had purchased black tar heroin from a person at the home, ABC 13 reported.


Officers found no heroin there Monday, but they recovered marijuana, an unidentified white powder and two rifles, he said.

Ferrari said her brother was a Navy veteran who was “released on honorable discharged medical.”

“He had debilitating injuries for many years and it’s a sad situation,” Ferrari told ABC 13.

She told Click 2 Houston that she spoke to her brother last week. She told the media outlet her brother was married to Nicholas.

"I don’t know his wife very well," Ferrari said. "It’s a family home, they’ve been together for a while."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Feds offer dramatic details on FBI agent’s shooting in Brooklyn

The feds provided a vivid, blow-by-blow account Monday of the broad-daylight ambush shooting of an FBI agent in Brooklyn.

Reputed Crips gang member Ronell Watson drove a BMW M5 the wrong way on Canarsie Road and blocked in the agent’s car, got out, went up to the driver’s-side door and began blasting when the agent tried to get away, court papers say.

The unidentified agent was hit “by at least one round and suffered a gunshot wound to his torso,” but got out of the car and returned fire, hitting Watson at least once before Watson hopped back in the BMW and drove off.

Law enforcement sources have said the agent and two other feds in his car were conducting a gang-related stakeout at the time of the shooting Saturday afternoon.

Watson dumped the car at a nearby auto-body shop and later showed up for treatment at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, where he claimed to have been an innocent bystander shot during a gunfight, according to the feds.

But law enforcement officers overheard him call his live-in girlfriend, Molissa Gangapersad, and tell her to go to their house and “get the jewelry and get rid of it,” court papers allege.

When FBI agents went to interview Gangapersad, she allegedly claimed not to have seen the shooting — but the feds say she changed her tune when she was confronted with surveillance video that shows her on the front porch of their house, with a clear view of the incident at the time it occurred.

A search of their home allegedly turned up 1 and a half pounds of pot, $15,000 in cash and “large amounts of jewelry” stashed in their bedroom.

Brooklyn US Attorney Richard Donoghue personally appeared in court Monday to successfully argue that Watson should be held without bail, calling him “a gun-wielding, drug-dealing gang member who shot an FBI agent in broad daylight.”

Donoghue said the evidence against Watson includes multiple videos of the shooting.

Law enforcement sources have said that Watson was driven to the hospital by Hector Amissah, 31, who wasn’t charged on Monday.

The Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office wouldn’t say why or whether Amissah was cooperating with authorities.

Gangapersad was released on $500,000 bond, but neither she nor any of the defense lawyers in the case would comment.

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Evil thugs kill shoot dead an entire family of swans and throw their bodies down a river bank

RSPCA investigators and cops are hunting the ruthless shooters who slaughtered an entire family of two adult swans and their five cygnets.

The charity released X-ray images of one of the dead swans showing how its head, neck and wings were riddled with pellets or shots, leading to an agonising death.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said today: "An entire family of swans in Kent has been wiped out after the birds – both parents and all five of their cygnets – were shot and killed in a senseless attack.

"The RSPCA is appealing for information after the bodies of the birds were discovered wrapped in plastic bags and thrown down the bank of a stream in Stepneyford Lane, Benenden.

"Officers from the rural policing team at Kent Police responded to calls about the birds and collected the bodies from the location."

It was not known whether they were shot for fun, or killed in the hope of being able to sell their meat.

It is an offence to injure, take or kill a wild swan as they are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

RSPCA Inspector Dave Grant, who was alerted to the killings by police, said that two of the birds' bodies have been examined by staff and "X-rays revealed that they were peppered with shot or pellets.

"It’s clear that these poor mute swans have been shot and killed deliberately.

"It’s absolutely disgusting that someone would purposefully target and kill these beautiful birds and it’s heartbreaking that an entire family has been wiped out in this cruel incident."

Inspector Grant added: "I’m keen to find out who is responsible for this senseless attack on this family of swans.

"Please can anyone with any information about what has happened to these birds, where they’ve come from or anyone who may have seen something suspicious in the area over the weekend contact us by calling our appeal line on 0300 123 8018."

The RSPCA is calling for better regulation of air weapons after receiving 884 calls reporting air gun attacks on animals across England and Wales in 2017.

The animal welfare charity wants to see stricter controls over airguns as well as better education and explanation of the law for those buying one.

Last year, there were 51 calls from Kent about air gun attacks – the second highest figure in the country – and officers find wild birds, wild animals and cats are the most likely to be injured by these weapons.


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