CHUKOTKA, RUSSIA — Video shared on social media of a polar bear spray-painted with graffiti is causing outrage after experts say it poses an extra threat to an already endangered animal.
World Wildlife Fund employee Sergey Kavry told the BBC that the video was shared on a WhatsApp group for indigenous people in Russia's Chukotka region, but that he didn't know where exactly it was filmed.
The polar bear had been spray painted on one side with "T-34", the name of a Soviet-era tank. It could take weeks to wash off, and would seriously screw up the animal's ability to camouflage while hunting.
After Kavry posted the video to Facebook on December 1, it went on to spark outrage among experts and en.
Anatoly Kochnev, a scientist at the Institute of Biological Problems of the North, says the bear was probably sedated or at the very least immobile when the letters were painted.
So either it was done for science, or as a sick joke.
Kochnev says polar bears have been foraging closer to residential areas due to the lack of food, so it's possible the locals may have stepped up to stop them.
Local Russian media claims though, that it was an expedition of scientists in Novaya Zemlya that marked the bear after it scavenged through rubbish bins of a human settlement, to see if it would return.
Either way, poor bear.