I’ve had some pretty rough experiences before that I’d rather not relive.
But at least I can say that being imprisoned by bears isn’t one of them. Yep, that’s right — for the last couple of weeks, Russian scientists weren’t able to leave their outpost on a Siberian island because they were trapped by a vicious gang of polar bears.
It really doesn’t get much worse than this.
The team had traveled to Troynoy, one of the Izvestiy Tsik Islands in the Kara Sea, to work on meteorological research. But at the end of August, something went horribly wrong.
One day, they woke up to find that their weather station was completely surrounded by polar bears that had been searching for food.
There were 10 bears in total, including a few cubs and their mothers — one of which slept right outside their window.
Fearing for their lives, the five meteorologists stayed inside the station and gave up on visiting observation sites. They had run out of flares, which would have helped them scare the bears away.
To their horror, a bear even killed one of the station’s dogs.
They were trapped for two weeks, waiting for the next supply ship to come in a month and bring more dogs and flares. Luckily, a research expedition vessel was passing by and stopped at the island to deliver the much-needed supplies. They were finally able to fend the bears off and resume their work.
Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. Troynoy, along with other Russian islands, have had many occurrences of polar bears attacking researchers.
It is believed that these encounters are becoming more frequent because the bears are losing their habitats and food to climate change and oil drilling.