Novaya Zemlya, located off Russia's northeastern arctic coast, has been swarmed by dozens of polar bears since December. The region's largest settlement, Belushya Guba, with a population of about 2,500 people, has reported more than 50 sightings.
Local administrator Alexander Minayev said bears had attacked people and entered buildings. A state of emergency was announced on Saturday, with up to 10 polar bears reportedly on the settlement's territory at any given time.
"Polar bears are reliant on seals for food and seals rely on sea ice. Global warming is melting the ice so it has a chain reaction on how polar bears can survive," Liz Greengrass, a director at UK animal conservation charity Born Free Foundation told CNN in 2018.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has helped set up patrols in some arctic communities to prevent potentially fatal encounters, introducing deterrence tools such as noise making machines, brighter lighting in public spaces, bear-proof food storage containers and safety protocols for when bears do enter communities. Rubber bullets can also be used.