Lost polar bear steals fishing gear as it gets desperate for food

Lost polar bear steals fishing gear as it desperately tries to find food after wandering across Russia and ending up 600 miles from its natural habitat

  • Polar bear has evaded capture by wildlife inspectors as its continues south 
  • Polar Paddington was last seen 100 miles further north in Yakutia in mid-April
  • Experts have theorized Paddington could actually be an albino brown bear

A lone wandering polar bear tried to steal fishing gear from an angler while desperately searching for food after wandering 600 miles from its natural habitat in Russia.  

Wildlife inspectors in Russia’s largest – and coldest – region of Yakutia have so far failed to snare the adventurous predator amid fears for its survival so far from its Arctic home.

The bear crept up on angler Andrey Rybakov, 41, who was fishing on the Khandyga River – and gave him the fright of his life.


 A lone wandering polar bear has tried to steal fishing gear from a local man as it desperately tries to find food after wandering 600 miles across Russia

Wildlife inspectors have so far  failed to snare the adventurous predator amid fears for its survival so far from its natural habitat

The fisherman grabbed his ice pick and a rod and fled to take refuge in his Toyota Land Cruiser.

Meanwhile, the bear with the travel bug – nicknamed Polar Paddington – rummaged through his fishing bag and box.

But there was no catch to steal for the beast that has ventured far outside its species’ normal habitat into the territory of the brown bear.

‘I was sitting and fishing – and this bear suddenly came from behind,’ said a clearly shaken Rybakov.

‘I heard nothing. And not just any bear. A polar bear.’

He recorded a video – the best footage so far of the wandering polar bear, and admitted: ‘He scared me.’

‘I only managed to grab my fishing rod and ice pick – and run,’ he said.

‘It turned my fishing box upside down.’

Rybakov said: ‘It approached my rods. There are no fish! Ugh… I can’t go back now. It sits and watches. And attacks me when I try to approach.’

From his vehicle, he shouted at the bear: ‘Leave my rods alone.’

With no fish in sight, the bear instead stole his spoon lures as a souvenir, infuriating the fisherman.

‘What the hell are you doing?’, shouted the Russian.

The bear crept up on angler Andrey Rybakov, 41, who was fishing on the Khandyga River – and gave him the fright of his life

The bear is last seen climbing a snowy wooded embankment with the angler’s spook lures clutched in its jaw.

Now officials in Yakutia are renewing efforts to catch the bear amid concerns for the safety of locals – and the bear so far from home.

It is highly unusual for bears to move even a short distance south from the Arctic coast where they have a plentiful supply of food.

But this bear has gone 600 miles as the crow flies, and in reality probably much further on its winding journey during which it has followed remote roads, and gone cross country, all the time evading efforts of wildlife inspectors to track it.

Earlier this month it crossed the Arctic Circle in a southerly direction, and is now close to the notorious Road of Bones, built by prisoners in Stalin times, connecting the world’s coldest city Yakutsk with former Gulag port Magadan.

Some experts initially believed that the wild animal might be an albino brown bear, because it is so unusual for polar bears to venture here.

The fact the bear appears in good condition, not starving despite its failure to grab any lunch from Rybakov. 

‘It’s sat-nav is awry,’ said one local.

Ecology Ministry in Yakutia region, Sakhamin Afanasyev, instructed wildlife inspectors to make a new bid to find and catch the wanderer.

Meanwhile, new safety warnings have been issued to residents to be alert for the creature.

Video taken from a truck following behind the bear shows it bounding through the snow on the Yana Road, heading south towards the regional capital Yakutsk in mid-April

A lost polar bear had wandered 500 miles from its natural habitat in the Russian Arctic by mid-April and has continued to travel away from its home

Previous sightings showed the bear in late March some 300 miles adrift from the Arctic, and more recently in mid-April on the lonely Yana road in Tomponsky district about 500 miles from home.

In 2017, a female cub was rescued in Verkhoyansk district, some 450 miles from the Arctic coast, after raiding a fish processing plant on the Kolyma River.

But now this bear has gone further.

If caught, an assessment will be made on whether Polar Paddington can be moved back to the Arctic and reintroduced to the wild.

The last time a polar bear wandered so far inland was in September 2017. A ten month old female cub (pictured) was rescued in Verkhoyansk district, some 450 miles south from the Arctic coast of Siberia [File photo]

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