Here at Norilsk, Siberia sometimes we have unexpected guests.

Last winter a friend of mine was taking breakfast when an unexpected guest showed: it was a bear and he freak out, but one of our collegues was cool enough to record the encounter with his phone.

Now, what would you need to know if you ever encounter a bear.

First of all, you have to stay calm and assess the situation. What is the bear doing? What is the bear's behaviour?

IF a bear does not know you are there then;

Back away quietly and leave the area either in the direction you came or by making a wide detour around the bear. Do not run, move quickly, or make motions that might attract the bear's attention.

Stay downwind, if possible, so the bear cannot smell you and detect your presence. 

Alwasy, keep an eye on the bear.

If a bear knows you are there and shows signs of being curious, such as moving slowly with frequent stops, standing on hind legs and sniffing the air, holding its head high with ears forward or to the side, moving its head from side to side, and trying to catch your scent by circling downwind and approaching from behind.

Help the bear to identify you as a human: wave your arms over your head and talk in low tones, and move slowly upwind of the bear so it can get your scent.

If the bear has been surprised at close range or shows signs of being agitated or threatened, such as huffing, panting, hissing, growling or jaw-snapping, stamping its feet, staring directly at a person, lowering its head with ears laid back

Then, you will have to act non-threatening.

Do not shout or make sudden movements, which might provoke the bear. Never huff or hiss as this can cause a polar bear to charge.  Avoid direct eye contact and back away slowly. DO NOT RUN.

If the bear shows signs of stalking or hunting you, such as: following you or circling you, approaching directly, intently and unafraid, returning after being scared away, appears wounded, old or thin

Then, ffight back! Use any potential weapon, group together and make loud noises, but DO NOT RUN!

If a bear charges stand your ground and be prepared to fight! Bluff charges are rare.  Never get between a bear and her cubs. If a female with cubs is surprised at close range or separated from her cubs she will likely attack to defend her cubs.  Leave the area immediately.  Sstay in a group, fight back if the bear attacks, always leave an escape route for the bear.

In case of an attack, please follow this emergency check list:

  • STAY CALM and call for help by radio or satellite phone. (Get contact numbers during your orientation to the park).
  • Report location and time of incident.
  • Report number of people involved.
  • Report extent of injuries and property damage.
  • Check that all people in the group are accounted for.
  • Report numbers and last locations of all polar bears involved in the incident.
  • Report reason for the attack if known (Female protecting cubs, surprise, defending food source, etc.).
  • Report description of bears (male or female, size, markings, etc.)
  • Stand by to provide additional information to rescuers.

Yes, we do learn that protocol here in Norilsk

I could save lives!

This is one of the things that we love about Norilsk: the Siberian nature.

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