The 5th International Research-to-Practice Conference, Universe of the Polar Bear, ends in Chukotka
The Universe of the Polar Bear 2022 conference resulted in an initiative to create standard and unified means to protect people from polar bears. Conference participants discussed the problem of protecting people in the Russian Arctic in human−polar bear conflict situations and came to a consensus on the need to create specialized, effective protective equipment in the north.
“An analysis of the data on the use of personal protective equipment provided to the Bear Patrol specialists in Chukotka showed that in a number of cases the effectiveness of this equipment is insufficient. This results in risks to the lives of bears and people alike. So, it is necessary to design a more effective way to scare polar bears away, something that is important to the residents of northern settlements, polar stations, and any area where people can encounter polar bears,” said Alexei Yakovlev, head of the Department of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Chukotka Autonomous District.
In addition, the Chukchi Sea and Wrangel Island coastline studies, carried out this year with unmanned aerial vehicles, were discussed. The project included high resolution photos of the coast. These surveys were conducted in the Russian Arctic zone for the first time.
“The project provided data on polar bear habitats, the state of the coastline in terms of the environment, and sites of accumulated environmental damage. In addition, the project included high-resolution images of coastal settlements and the territories around them. These data can be used both in urban planning, and in industry, and in cleaning the area, among other things,” according to the Chukotka Autonomous District Government website.
The participants used the conference to review the equipment being used by the Bear Patrols in the Chukotka Autonomous District. This year the specialists were equipped with protective clothing and other protection gear, including hardware where necessary. In addition, they were given life and health insurance.
It was decided to document the results of the 5th International Research-to-Practice Conference, Universe of the Polar Bear, which took place in Anadyr as part of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, in a conference resolution, which will be sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, as well as to the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources.