Russia’s stray polar bear taken back to the wild

MOSCOW (AP) — A polar bear which was found roaming around a village in eastern Russia, hundreds of miles away from its usual habitat, has been airlifted back home.

The exhausted-looking animal apparently travelled on an ice floe from the remote, sparsely populated Chukotka to a village on Kamchatka, about 700 kilometres south when it was found.

Russian emergency authorities on Monday mounted an operation to repatriate the bear. A member of the response team shot a tranquiliser at the bear and put it in a container and onto a helicopter which flew to the snow-covered Chukotka. The bear was then released into the wild.

Environmentalists said that wild animals such as polar bear are suffering from the shrinking hunting environment and the receding ice as the Arctic is getting warmer.

Rescue workers handle a polar bear that has been shot with a tranquiliser in the village of Tilichiki, about 936 kilometres north of Petropavlosk Kamchatsky, Russian Far East. – AP