A Russian village is under siege from at least 56 ravenous polar bears that have gathered on the outskirts of the remote outpost.
Remarkable images and footage show how Ryrkaypiy is now in virtual lockdown over the worrying predator invasion.
All public events have been cancelled and children were given extra protection as they travel to and from kindergarten and school.
Special bear patrols are trying to stop the ‘hungry’ bears entering residential areas.
So far the invasion is on the outskirts of the village – which has a population of 766 – in Russia’s easternmost Chuktoka region, where the beasts are feasting on seal carcasses at Cape Kozhevnkov, according to reports.
Environmentalists and residents said weak Arctic ice has left the bears unable to roam, with the Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund saying climate change was to blame, as unusually warm temperatures prevented coastal ice from forming.
The WWF are concerned they could enter the village, home to fewer than 1,000 people, and patrols had been set up to monitor their movements.
It is the second year the village has faced dozens of polar bears on its doorstep, but locals say this year there are more bears than ever.
‘Nearly all the polar bears are skinny,’ said Tatyana Minenko, head of the WWF Polar Bear Patrol in Ryrkaipiy.
‘There are adult bears, adolescents and mother bears with cubs of different ages.’
The village is close to a bear migration route and rangers are using snow mobiles and vehicles to discourage the animals from coming closer to houses.
Residents had also gathered walrus carcasses in the area to try to keep the bears from wandering into the village.
‘The number of human and predator encounters in the Arctic is increasing,’ the WWF said in statement.
‘The main reason is the decline of sea ice area due to the changing climate. In the absence of ice cover, animals are forced to go ashore in search of food.’
Minenko and her colleague Maksim Deminov are working ‘around the clock’ to prevent clashes between bears and people.
‘We have created a feeding point with walrus carcasses that we gathered along the coast,’ Minenko told news agency RIA Novosti.
‘As long as there is no big freeze, the sea ice will not form and the bears will stay on the coast,’ she said.
It is illegal in Russia to shoot polar bears but the rangers are ready to use rubber bullets.
‘There are guards on duty next to local kindergarten and school,’ reported The Siberian Times.
‘All public events like preparation for end of year concerts, rehearsals, and local gatherings were cancelled for the duration of the bear ”invasion”.
‘Children are driven to school and kindergarten and back home in buses.’
Locals say that abnormally mild winter weather has led to the polar bear trespass due to the sea not freezing over despite subzero temperatures.
Instead of hunting for fish, the bears are eating seal carcasses left from autumn.
Last year army servicemen cleared the village’s shore of bodies of dead seals on which the bears are feeding.
Russia’s weather service said temperatures in the region should fall from Saturday and that coastal ice should freeze by December 11.
Polar bears regularly visit areas inhabited by humans in Arctic Russia to search for food, often in rubbish tips.
But the number of visits has been growing as the melting of Arctic ice from climate change forces the bears to spend more time on land where they compete for food.
Billionaire tycoon and current owner of Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich, was a former governor of remote Chukotka region.