Facing a shrinking habitat, polar bears besiege Russian meteorologists

For two weeks a team of meteorologists were trapped inside their research station on Russia’s Izvesti Tsik Islands by a group of polar bears that had taken up residence outside, in search of more food after eating one of their guard dogs.

But on Tuesday a research vessel for Russia’s state-run oil firm Rosneft came to the rescue, scaring away the bears by flying a helicopter overhead. They also replaced the meteorologists’ supply of signal flares to use, should the bears come back, and gave them puppies to train as future guard dogs. Now with their station clear of polar bears, they are able to wait for their regular monthly resupply.

“They came around midnight [1 p.m. ET on Tuesday],” station supervisor Vasily Shevchenko told NBC News, who is based in the city of Arkhangelsk, 1,200 miles south of the weather facility. “So there’s no direct hazard near the station.” READ MORE.