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Russia Arctic: Polar bears besiege scientists

Polar bears Image copyright AP
Image caption Polar bears mainly eat seals

Relief supplies have reached five Russian scientists besieged by polar bears for nearly two weeks at a remote weather station on Troynoy Island in the Arctic.

Station head Vadim Plotnikov said 10 adult bears and four cubs had surrounded the station since 31 August.

The bears had prevented the scientists from performing some observations and one scientist's dog was killed.

The scientists asked for flares for scaring off the bears and other items.

Vassiliy Shevchenko, who works for the state monitoring network that owns the weather station, told the BBC an Arctic vessel had reached a nearby island and the supplies had been sent in from there by helicopter.

Two dogs were also delivered.

All of the scientists are reported to be well.

"They told us there was a female polar bear with a cub, which spent its evenings under the station's windows," Mr Shevchenko said. "We asked them to be extremely careful and to stay inside."

It is not the first time that an incident like this has happened, he added, as bears inhabit the area and people work there.

He suggested the animals could have been attracted by the smell of leftovers.

The polar bear is the largest living land carnivore, weighing up to 800kg (1,763 pounds).

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, polar bears are considered a vulnerable species. The biggest threat to the animals is the loss of their habitat due to climate change.

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