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How to Survive a Bear Encounter, or Better Yet, Avoid Meeting a Polar Bear

 

polar bear
© Steve Morello / WWF

Polar bears, being a symbol of the Arctic, are one of the largest predatory mammals. The polar bear may seem cute and clumsy, but it is quite an aggressive, fast and agile animal. The bear most often perceives a person as a potential threat and tries to avoid encounters with humans. However, hunger and curiosity can provoke a predator to interact with people.

Since it would be better for a person to avoid a direct meeting in every possible way, it is better to:

  1. Not go on a route in poor visibility conditions. Set up a tent camp on a well-viewed flat area, where there are no traces of the presence of polar bears or remains of their vital activity.
  2. Protect your camp with a barrier. As a polar bear does not often climb in its natural habitat, a high, strong fence will become a serious obstacle.
  3. Avoid using strong-smelling substances during the expedition. A polar bear may be attracted by the smell of food or any other strong ones. Store food at least 100 meters away from tents in airtight plastic containers.

What to do if the bear insists on a rendezvous? Try to scare away the beast:

  1. Polar bears will not be frightened by the human voice or the barking of dogs, whereas loud hissing sounds (for example, the sound of a working fire extinguisher), the sounds of a siren, metal banging sounds, a knock on ice or ground with a heavy object will seem intimidating to them.
  2. Create the impression of a big dangerous opponent. Increase your height by lifting up the available items. Gather in a group, hold hands, and pull jackets and hats out to the sides. Use all means of visual and sound repelling –flare guns, smoke bombs, light and sound grenades.
  3. Do not panic and do not run away. Running away will make the animal want to chase you, while a polar bear runs much faster than a human.
  4. It is strictly forbidden to shoot at an animal that does not show any kind of aggression. Hitting a polar bear or a place near it will be perceived as an act of aggression and, thus, will provoke it to attack.

It is possible to use firearms only in a critical situation, when the polar bear, being in an aggressive state, has come up to a close distance and is trying to attack a person.

The editorial board of The Arctic Century

 
07.08.2023
 

 

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