The two cubs that had found a home at the Kharasavey natural gas field were removed more than 300 km north. Photo: Gazprom Dobycha Nadym

The polar bears that threatened Arctic oilmen are removed

Two cubs had found a home around Gazprom's far northern Kharasavey field installations. Now they have been exiled to a remote national park.
February 09, 2022


The two young bears had put their like at the natural gas field in the Yamal Peninsula where they found both food and shelter. Also workers on site had increasingly gotten accustomed to the animals and even given them names.

The “Khara” and “Savey” were named after the natural gas field. They even got their own Instagram page.

But ultimately, the animals became too much of a threat to local security.

In late December 2021, company Gazprom Dobycha Nadym together with representatives of the regional Yamal Nenets administration and environmental authority Rosprirodnadzor decided to move the bears to a site 100 km away from the industry facilities. However, after only three weeks, the bears had found their way back to Kharasavey.

They found easily available food in the rubbish and leftovers from the oil workers.

In late January, the Gazprom subsidiary company ultimately decided to move the animals further away to the Gydansky national park. In cooperation with local authorities and the Rosprirodnadzor the bears were put to sleep with sedatives and sent by helicopter more than 300 km north.

The animals were left on site with more than 200 kg of fish, enough food for two weeks.



The two young polar bears became a serious problem for the developers of the Kharasavey field. Video by Gazprom Dobycha Nadym


The movements of the animals will now be monitored by employees of the national park, the Yamal Nenets government informs.

“We expect that this will be a successful measure, he cubs are fully ready for life in the wild,” says Andrei Boltunov, leader of a research center involved in the operation.


The Khara and Savey get 200 kg of frozen fish with them to the Gydan National Park. Photo: Gazprom Dobycha Nadym


The Gydan National Park is located on the northernmost edge of the Gydan Peninsula and is a traditional hunting ground for polar bears on ringed seal.

Encounters between humans and polar bears is an increasing problem as new major industrial projects are developed in the remote Russian Arctic. Several major industrial sites are under development across the region, both in Yamal, Gydan and Taymyr, as well as further east along the north Siberial coast.

In addition come the stronger Russian military presence in the archipelagos of Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya, New Siberian Islands and Wrangel Island.





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