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Big and bold graffiti numbers and letters have been spray-painted on a Russian polar bear's white coat. Until the paint dissolves with time, experts fear the polar bear will suffer when it tries to hunt.
A video of the polar bear was shared on social media sites and showcased the bear walking with the letters "T-34" written on its fur. T-34 is an old Soviet Union tank model.
Sergey Kavry who works for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) posted the video online.
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A polar issue
Posted on December 1st, the video clearly shows the bear walking with huge black lettering on its usually white fur coat. You can't miss it. Much like its prey won't miss it when inevitably the polar bear will attempt to hunt for food.
This is experts' main worry for the polar bear, as its camouflage is essentially gone because of the lettering.
Kavry mentioned in his post that he received the video via WhatsApp from indigenous minorities in Chukotka, a region in Russia's far east.
Polar bears are listed as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The main issue is global warming and the melting ice caps, creating a smaller area when polar bears can hunt and survive.
The issue is clear in Russia's northern territories, where polar bears reside. The Russian branch of the WWF shared a report in August in which it urged residents in one of Chukotka's northern villages, Ryrkaipiy, to beware of polar bears in the region.
The polar bears have had to travel farther from their natural habitat in order to find food, and some have ended up in the streets of human settlements.
Kavry stated that "Why! Now he won't be able to hunt unnoticed," when voicing his concerns about this particular polar bear.
It's now known who is responsible for this "prank", but the hope is that the paint will wash off quickly enough, and in time for the polar bear to be able to use its camouflage and hunt as usual.