Spray-painted polar bear sparks alarm in Russia

A polar bear daubed with the painted slogan T-34, the name of a Soviet era tank. (Social Media)
Updated 04 December 2019

Spray-painted polar bear sparks alarm in Russia

  • Local media reported that scientists had marked the bear because it was scavenging for food near a human-inhabited area in the Arctic region
  • Polar bears regularly visit areas inhabited by humans in Arctic Russia to search for food, often in rubbish tips

MOSCOW: A video showing a polar bear daubed with painted slogan T-34, the name of a Soviet era tank, has caused alarm in Russia with experts saying it could prevent the bear hunting.
Local media reported Tuesday that scientists had marked the bear because it was scavenging for food near a human-inhabited area in the Arctic region.
The video was posted on Facebook on Monday by Sergei Kavry, who works for the World Wildlife Fund in the Chukotka region.
He said he was concerned at the large letters daubed on the side of the bear, seen plodding through snow.
“Why? Why? He won’t be able to hunt inconspicuously,” Kavry wrote. Kavry said he found the video on a WhatsApp social media group and did not know where it was shot.
A senior researcher at the Institute of Biological Problems of the North in far eastern Russia, Anatoly Kochnev, told RIA Novosti news agency he did not know where the video was shot, but the letters could have been painted on by “jokers.”
“At first, until he cleans himself off, it will be hard for him to hunt,” the scientist said.


Severpress news agency, based in the Yamalo-Nenetsky region, some 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) northeast of Moscow, reported that the marks were put on by an expedition of scientists on Novaya Zemlya, a remote and sparsely populated Arctic archipelago.
It cited experts as saying a team of scientists from Moscow went to investigate a polar bear that was raiding a settlement’s rubbish tip and they marked the bear to see if it returned.
The agency quoted Ilya Mordvintsev, a senior researcher from Moscow’s Institute of Problems of Ecology and Evolution, as saying the expedition members caught the bear and sedated it.
Finding the animal was well-fed and therefore would not attack humans, they took it to a safe distance from the settlement and marked it with paint that would wash off in two weeks, to see if it returned to scavenge, he said.
The video was apparently shot last week, the agency reported.
Polar bears regularly visit areas inhabited by humans in Arctic Russia to search for food, often in rubbish tips.
In February in Novaya Zemlya, officials sounded the alarm over an “invasion” of 52 bears in the main settlement there.
The bears are affected by global warming with melting Arctic ice forcing them to spend more time on land where they compete for food.

 


Bad week for Mexico tourism capped by mis-translations

Updated 08 August 2020

Bad week for Mexico tourism capped by mis-translations

  • The snafu has prompted former president Felipe Calderón to write in his Twitter account: “Stop making Mexico look ridiculous!”
  • Local media reports say the errors may have been introduced by a web services supplier angry about not being paid

MEXICO CITY: It has been a bad week for Mexican tourism promotion, and it got worse Friday when the English language version of the country’s tourism website appeared with hilarious mis-translations.
Entire states like Hidalgo and Guerrero apparently got machine translated as “Noble” and “Warrior.”
Worse for the VisitMexico.com site, there was systematic and inexplicable re-invention of the names of some fairly well-known tourist towns. The Caribbean resort of Tulum somehow became “Jumpsuit.” The nearby lagoon of Bacalar, on the Caribbean coast, was switched to the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.
The snafu came one day after the US State Department cited the high number of COVID-19 cases in Mexico for issuing a “do not travel” advisory for the country, its highest level of warning. Hours earlier, the resort of Acapulco was forced to pull “anything goes” tourism ads that showed people partying without masks and the words “there are no rules.”
But the problems at VisitMexico.com drew howls of hilarity — and anger. The Pacific coast resort of Puerto Escondido became “Hidden Port,” a literal translation, and the northern city of Torreon became “Turret,” which is kind of close.
Some name changes were just inexplicable and appeared to have as much to do with invention as simple translation. The central Mexican town of Aculco somehow became “I Blame,” and the northern Gulf coast city of Ciudad Madero became “Log.”
“Stop making Mexico look ridiculous!” former President Felipe Calderón wrote in his Twitter account.
Mexico’s Tourism Department issued a statement apologizing for the apparently out-sourced errors, but then made it sound like something sinister had been involved.
“The Tourism Department expresses its most sincere apologies to the public and users for the effects that have occurred on the website VisitMexico,” the statement said. “Moreover, we make it known that these acts aim to damage the image of the website and the department, and so therefore a criminal complaint has been filed and appropriate legal actions will be taken against those responsible.”
The department did not explain that claim, but local media reported the dispute might involve a web services supplier angry about not being paid.
On Thursday, officials took down a pair of Acapulco video ads touting the faded resort’s reputation as a nightclubbing spot — despite the fact nightclubs are currently closed to enforce social distancing. They said the ads weren’t appropriate during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have stopped being a postcard from the past, today we have changed the rules,” says a narration in one of the videos. “In fact, there are no rules,” says another voice, as people can be seen eating bizarre meals and going out to night clubs. “Eat whatever you want, have fun day and night and into the early morning hours ... find new friends and new loves.”