People north of the arctic circle can well do without some visitors to their homes. On icebarians, for example. On the russian double island of novaya zemlya, there are so many of them this winter that the authorities have sounded the alarm.
Russian experts are now discussing how residents can protect themselves permanently. Researchers in germany believe that such encounters could occur more frequently in the future.
In the past, it has happened from time to time that ice barbarians no longer searched for food in the wild, but on mud heaps, says marine ecologist hauke flores of the alfred wegener institute in bremerhaven. "But the fact that there is an increase in such traps has a lot to do with climate change."
Access to food is becoming increasingly difficult for the icefish. A good ten years ago, the water around the double island was still frozen in winter. "At that time, the baren could still walk around on the ice very well." In the winter months, there is no longer a permanent ice cover – problematic for the predators.
The female bears needed pack ice to be able to catch seals at all, explains ice bar expert sybille klenzendorf from the environmental protection organization WWF. Without ice floes, they could not reach the mammals on which they mainly feed. "Ice men first eat the fat of animals. Their main feeding season is from november to june."Because there is no ice around novaya semlya and the people are hungry, they are drawn to the settlements, the environmentalist says. "Icemen have a super good nose. They can smell food at a distance of up to 30 kilometers."
How many ice barbarians live around nowaja semlja is unclear, says klenzendorf. "There is military restricted area. There have been no scientific surveys since 2004."In the region there are rough mull heaps, on which the animals found fodder. The administration has recognized the problem. The representative of the authorities, shigansha mussin, told the interfax agency: "by 2020, we plan to completely eliminate all landfills and build an incineration plant."
The animals will now be scared away for the time being – before the authorities start long-term measures to remove them. "New baren can be easily scared away by the larm. But they also get used to it," says klenzendorf. Flares, pepper spray or electric fences are just as effective, they say. Villages now had to be secured with fences and barriers. It was also important to remove waste and to fence in muller piles.
Nadezhda wolf has been living in the settlement of belusha guba on novaya zemlya on the arctic ocean for seven years. There were last paid more than 50 cash. The authorities therefore declared a state of emergency. Wolf told the online news portal medusa about an encounter with a bear when she was taking her daughter to kindergarten: "I grabbed the child and ran. I saw the small, gentle eyes of the baren boy. But I’ve never been so scared."There are now patrols to scare away the animals. "The baren have become less."
"Icemen are dangerous. They are the roughest land predators and unpredictable," explains WWF expert klenzendorf, who has been keeping an eye on the russian bares for years. The animals on novaya zemlya had become accustomed to humans and learned that they found food in mulleimers at houses. "When 400 kilograms of weight lean against a closed door, it sometimes opens up." On the internet there are videos of the settlement showing a bar walking through a hallway – past parked baby carriages.
Climate change favors human encounters, says flores. He would not be surprised if there were more such traps in the future. One reason, she said, was the rise in water temperature. In the arctic, sea water freezes at minus 1.9 degrees due to salt content. But it has become somewhat warmer in the past few years. "Oecologically, it makes a gigantic difference."
The environmentalists from the WWF are therefore concerned: "in the last 40 years, we have lost six times the surface area of germany to ice. Forecasts say the arctic will be completely ice-free in summer by 2050."This leads to conflicts between ice-creatures and people. Not only in the north of russia it has already happened – also in gronland, canada and on alaska.
The launch of the ice barbarians on the russian double island is not planned for the time being. The animals belong to the endangered species. But it is possible to deafen them and fly them to the ice by airplane, says klenzendorf. But that would be expensive. "I can’t imagine that they will fly out all the iceable ones."