Weak Arctic ice sees 56 polar bears descend on Russian village

Polar bears outside the village of Ryrkaypiy in the Chukotka region of Russia’s far north. (AFP)
Updated 06 December 2019

Weak Arctic ice sees 56 polar bears descend on Russian village

  • The WWF said 56 polar bears had gathered in a one-square-kilometer area near the village of Ryrkaipy in Chukotka
  • There were concerns they could enter the village, home to fewer than 1,000 people, and patrols had been set up to monitor their movements

MOSCOW: More than 50 polar bears have gathered on the edge of a village in Russia’s far north, environmentalists and residents said, as weak Arctic ice leaves them unable to roam.
The Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund said climate change was to blame, as unusually warm temperatures prevented coastal ice from forming.
The WWF said 56 polar bears had gathered in a one-square-kilometer (0.4-square-mile) area near the village of Ryrkaipy in Chukotka on the northeastern tip of Russia.
There were concerns they could enter the village, home to fewer than 1,000 people, and patrols had been set up to monitor their movements.
“The number of human and predator encounters in the Arctic is increasing,” the WWF said in statement.
“The main reason is the decline of sea ice area due to the changing climate. In the absence of ice cover, animals are forced to go ashore in search of food.”

Residents had gathered walrus carcasses in the area to try to keep the bears from wandering into the village.
“We have created a feeding point with walrus carcasses that we gathered along the coast,” Tatyana Minenko of the local “Bear Patrol” told news agency RIA Novosti.
“As long as there is no big freeze, the sea ice will not form and the bears will stay on the coast,” she said.
Russia’s weather service said temperatures in the region should fall from Saturday and that coastal ice should freeze by December 11.
Polar bears regularly visit areas inhabited by humans in Arctic Russia to search for food, often in rubbish tips.
But the number of visits has been growing as the melting of Arctic ice from climate change forces the bears to spend more time on land where they compete for food.


World’s shortest man dies in Nepal at 27

In this file photo taken on September 24, 2010 Nepalese teenager Khagendra Thapa Magar poses for a picture with Miss Nepal Sadichha Shrestha (C) and first runner-up Sahana Bajracharya (R) and second runner-up Samyukta Timilsina (L) in Kathmandu. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2020

World’s shortest man dies in Nepal at 27

  • Magar became an official face of Nepal’s tourism campaign, which featured him as the smallest man in a country that is home to the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest

KATMANDU: The world’s shortest man who could walk, as verified by Guinness World Records, died Friday at a hospital in Nepal, his family said.
Khagendra Thapa Magar, who measured 67.08 centimeters (2 feet 2.41 inches), died of pneumonia at a hospital in Pokhara, 200 kilometers from Katmandu, where he lived with his parents.
“He has been in and out of hospital because of pneumonia. But this time his heart was also affected. He passed away today,” Mahesh Thapa Magar, his brother, told AFP.
Magar was first declared the world’s shortest man in 2010 after his 18th birthday, photographed holding a certificate only a bit smaller than him.
However he eventually lost the title after Nepal’s Chandra Bahadur Dangi, who measured 54.6 centimeters, was discovered and named the world’s shortest mobile man.
Magar regained the title after Dangi’s death in 2015.
“He was so tiny when he was born that he could fit in the palm of your hand, and it was very hard to bathe him because he was so small,” said his father, Roop Bahadur, according to Guinness World Records.
As the world’s shortest man the 27-year-old traveled to more than a dozen countries and made television appearances in Europe and the United States.
“We’re terribly sad to hear the news from Nepal that Khagendra is no longer with us,” said Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records editor-in-chief.
“Life can be challenging when you weigh just 6 kilograms and you don’t fit into a world built for the average person. But Khagendra certainly didn’t let his small size stop him from getting the most out of life” he said.
Magar became an official face of Nepal’s tourism campaign, which featured him as the smallest man in a country that is home to the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest.
During his stint he met other short people around the world, including the shortest woman, Jyoti Amge, from India.
In a video released by Guinness World Records, Magar is seen playing a guitar with his brother, riding a bike and sitting at his family’s shop.
The world’s shortest non-mobile man remains Junrey Balawing of the Philippines, who measures only 59.93 centimeters but is unable to walk or stand unaided, according to Guinness World Records.
The record for shortest living mobile man is now retained by Edward “Nino” Hernandez of Colombia, a reggaeton DJ who stands 70.21 centimeters tall, Guinness said.