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Saving a polar bear cub

WWF experts have returned from a trip to Chukotka with a short photo report about saving a bear cub.

Last autumn storms were very strong and they drove ices from the shore far away to the sea. So a dozen of polar bears were roaming near our village Ryrkaipyi. Such bears are an easy trophy for a bad person. Later local police arrested two poachers, who had killed three bears. Actually, much more bears have been killed, to my mind, about a dozen...

I myself found a shed with bait for bears in tundra and informed local police about this fact. It was difficult to defend bears without constant protection... But nature helped. When heavy frost came, the ice covered the sea, and bears went to have a hunt on ice. Nothing threatens bears when they're surrounded by ice reefs. Strangely enough, one year-old bear cub was left alone. Probably his mother had been killed by poachers. Usually bear cubs die in such situations. But this guy proved to be a very quick baby. Surprisingly, he managed to stay alive. I often noticed his trails on the shore in winter. I was hunting for seals, fishing in the sea among ice reefs for several days. Toward in the evening, when I was coming back home, I saw something strange near a trap for an arctic fox. When I approached the trap, I saw our baby. The cub could not get out; its nails were squeezed in the trap. Usually small bear cubs grizzle as children. But this one, as an adult, was snarling and staring at me tenderly.

I had nothing to do but save the poor baby. I called my friends and we managed to press the cub with a stick and depressed the trap. At first, the cub did not believe it was rescued. It was struck dump for a moment and then paddled funnily in the direction of the sea...

Umka in the trap

Rescue operation...


Finally the trap is empty!

Have a long life, Umky!

It is symbolic that this operation on saving the bear cub concurred with the international attention to the fate of the bear called Knut, from Berlin zoo. Knut was abandoned by its mother. But Umka's fate is more dramatic, its mother was killed by poachers....

«I was very glad that I managed to save Kai Unky kai (a little bear cub in Chukchi language). Very often bear cubs squeezed in traps frostbite their paws or tongues».

«In 1995 I met a bear cub without a paw on Chelyuskin Cape», says scientific coordinator of the project, scientist of All-Russian Research Institute of Nature Protection, Andrey Boltunov. "Zoos don't need injured animals. Injured bears grow in villages or near polar stations, and when they get bigger they start to behave as real bears, and become dangerous for humans. As a result such bears are killed