Russian Scientists Marked Polar Bear With T-34

Written by Susan J Crockford PhD

t34 polar bear

The media are so gullible. So eager are they for a sympathetic polar bear victim that news outlets everywhere carried a story earlier this week about a Russian polar bear that had ‘T-34’ spray-painted on its side.

They took the word of Russian polar bear/walrus consultant to WWF and Netflix, Anatoly Kochnev, that this was some kind of cruel joke that meant an untimely death for the bear.

Turns out it was nothing of the kind.

Cruel animal abusers daubed T-34 – the name of an iconic Soviet tank – on a wild polar bear. Daily Mail (2 December 2019).

Polar bear spray-painted with ‘T-34’ baffles Russia wildlife experts BBC (2 December 2019).

Russians spotted a polar bear painted in cryptic graffiti. Scientists are searching for answers National Post (4 December 2019)

A polar bear was spray-painted with graffiti, scientists fear it won’t survive CNN (4 December 2019).

Apparently, the original video of the marked bear was posted on a social media site for Chukotak indigenous people and subsequently posted on Facebook by Sergey Kavry of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who also contacted local media.

Only five days ago, Kochnov was quoted as saying:

‘Scientists could not do this, it could have been somebody who ‘joked’ like this.

Polar beara checking out a Russian dump Kara Sea late November 2019_Irina Eliseeva photo

Except scientists did do it.

In a report in the Siberian Times published late today, it appears the bear was causing problems on Novaya Zemlya (where dump bears were a big problem last winter) and was tagged ahead of being driven off:

“The animal was marked with ‘safe paint’ which wears off over two weeks, and moved away to discourage him from coming back.

The bear was sedated and examined, said senior researcher Ilya Mordvintsev.

The check showed that the male predator was well-fed which meant that he would likely not attack.

The mark was made to allow both the locals and experts recognise the beast in case he returned, and to distinguish it from any other polar bear scavenging at the site.

Andrey Umnikov denied T-34 referred to the tank.

The video [that went viral] was filmed approximately a week ago, he specified.”

The poor sad polar bear newsflash is over, morphing into an egg-on-the-face moment for WWF and Kochnev.

Habituated dump bears are a wide-spread problem in the Kara Sea, as the photo of a fat bear checking out a container below shows.

‘Polar bears checking on rubbish containers are not rarity. It happened at Beliy island and Vilkitskiy island,’ Andrey Umnikov explained.

Polar bears

Location of Vilkitskiy Island in the Kara Sea (Wikipedia):

Vilkitskiy island Kara_sea wikipedia

Dr. Susan Crockford is a zoologist (former adjunct professor, University of Victoria) specializing in Holocene mammals, including polar bears and walruses. Her new book is called The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened  (Amazon)

Read more at Polar Bear Science


PRINCIPIA SCIENTIFIC INTERNATIONAL, legally registered in the UK as a company incorporated for charitable purposes. Head Office: 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AX. 

Please DONATE TODAY To Help Our Non-Profit Mission To Defend The Scientific Method.

Comments (3)

  • Avatar

    Andy Rowlands

    |

    Perhaps they should nickname that polar bear Tank 🙂

  • Avatar

    tom0mason

    |

    WWF and Kochnev showed the world their true scientific acumen there — all assumption and NO investigation, no research.
    WWF nothing but emotional assumptions.

    • Avatar

      DdwielandDd

      |

      But will the WWF or any of the gullible media note the error and report the truth?

Comments are closed