Polar Bear Encounters Increasingly Frequent In Greenland 

Posted on December 30th 2019

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A decade ago, coming across a polar bear was in Greenland was a rare occurrence, but things have changed considerably. A fast-growing number of starving polar bears have begun to terrorize communities as they scavenge for food in response to the ice they hunt on melting as a result of rising temperatures. Recently an emaciated polar bear continued attempting to enter a town despite the fact the residents kept on trying to scare it away.

Never used to see polar bears

Residents say that during their childhood they never saw a single polar bear, but as teenagers they began entering the town. Bears now come day after day and night after night. Residents say they really do not want to shoot the polar bears because of their emaciation. Unfortunately, emaciation is what makes them dangerous. According to WWF data, ten years ago, there were only eight reports of polar bears entering settlements. Last year in a single village, there were 21 instances.

Children need an escort for school

This issue of safety from polar bears has become so serious, children are now being escorted to schools by rifle carrying adults that are fired when polar bears are spotted in an attempt to scare them off. Schools say on outings, teachers now carry a gun and during winter when it’s too dark to see at any instance, things can get very scary. Bears scavenge from rubbish bins. They are also apex predators and can weigh as much as ten humans so pose a real threat to people.

Climate change escalating the problem

Polar bears have always entered settlements in the Arctic; however, the problem is now escalating. Climate change has resulted in the shrinkage of natural habitat which means polar bears now have no option but to scavenge. The bears typically follow the edge of the sea ice until it retreats in the North during Spring. However, over the last few years, the edge had drawn closer to the shore.

Attacks can be serious

Polar bears have a great sense of smell and are able to detect settlements because of garbage and even dog food. Experts say there is a clear retreat in the sea ice over the last ten years and no during summer there is no sea ice at all. When all the ice disappears, the polar bears visit. WWF says there were two very serious polar bear incidents in Greenland last year. One incident involved a helicopter pilot and two passengers who managed to narrowly escape following a polar bear searching for food, attacked and smashed the chopper’s windshield.

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