The WWF says global warming is to blame for polar bears getting closer to the village (Picture: AFP)

A small village in far east Russia is in lockdown as at least 56 ravenous polar bears close in.

All public end-of-year events in Ryrkaypiy have been cancelled and children are being bussed to and from school, where guards are posted outside.

Special patrols are trying their desperately to keep the bears as far away from residential areas as possible.

So far they are only on the outskirts of the village of 766 people, in the Chuktoka region, where Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich once served as governor.

It is the second year the outpost has faced several polar bears on its doorstep, which is close to a migration route.

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Residents say they have never seen so many on their doorstep before (Picture: AFP)

But locals say there are far more than they have ever seen before.

The WWF says abnormally mild winter weather has led to the polar bear invasion due to the sea not freezing over, despite subzero temperatures.

Instead of hunting for fish, the bears are feasting on seal carcasses left from autumn around Cape Kozhevnkov.

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Last year army servicemen cleared the village’s shore of dead seals to try and keep bears away.

Residents have gathered walrus carcasses at a feeding point to try and stop them getting too close.

Head of the WWF Polar Bear Patrol Tatiana Minenko said nearly all of the animals, who are ‘skinny’.

Changing sea temperatures are forcing the bears to search further inland for food (Picture: AFP)
Schoolchildren are being guarded and the village’s end-of-year events have been cancelled (Picture: AFP)

She and her colleague Maksim Deminov say they are working ‘around the clock’ to stop them clashing with people.

They are using snow mobiles and other vehicles to discourage the animals from going near houses.

She added: ‘As long as there is no big freeze, the sea ice will not form and the bears will stay on the coast.’

It is illegal to shoot polar bears in Russia but the rangers are ready to use rubber bullets if they have to.

Russia’s weather service said temperatures in the region should fall from Saturday and that coastal ice should freeze by December 11.


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