A remote Russian Arctic archipelago has declared a state of emergency over an “invasion” by more than 50 polar bears, confining many of the 3,000 inhabitants to their homes.

Authorities in Novaya Zemlya have appealed for help to tackle the 52 bears which have been regularly visiting the archipelago’s main settlement, Belushya Guba.

In comments reported by AFP, Deputy Chief of Administration Alexander Minayev said some bears were displaying “aggressive behaviour” including “attacks on people and entering residential homes and public buildings.”

He added: “There are constantly six to ten bears inside the settlement.

People are scared, they are afraid to leave their homes… parents are frightened to let their children go to schools and kindergartens.”

Though the Federal Environmental Resources Agency has refused to issue licences to shoot the most aggressive bears, the Arkhangelsk regional authorities claim that if all else fails, “shooting the animals could be the only possible forced measure.”

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