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Melting ice is forcing polar bears on land. Polar bear patrols can help

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

One consequence of climate change and a warming planet - polar bears are spending more time on land instead of Arctic ice. This means more interactions with humans. Scientists say attacks are rare, but last week, a mother and child were tragically killed by a polar bear in a remote Alaskan village. According to the Associated Press, the incident has residents talking about reviving polar bear patrols. Such patrols raise awareness about humans coexisting with polar bears and try to protect both bears and humans. The AP reports that some tactics used by patrollers to keep polar bears at bay include gently revving snowmobiles or firing beanbags from shotguns. In Russia, one patrol group placed walrus carcasses far from villages to lure bears away. And in Canada, polar bears that can't be frightened off are captured and cared for in chilled environments called bear jails until they can be safely flown back to the ice. Funding has been an obstacle over the years, but there is renewed hope more will be done to encourage these programs.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe
Ayesha Rascoe is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and the Saturday episodes of Up First. As host of the morning news magazine, she interviews news makers, entertainers, politicians and more about the stories that everyone is talking about or that everyone should be talking about.