Footage shared on social media in Russia of a polar bear with “T-34” spray-painted in black on its facet has alarmed specialists.
Consultants warned the stunt may have an effect on the animal’s capacity to mix in with its environment and hunt for meals.
An investigation is beneath method to decide precisely the place in Arctic Russia the video was filmed.
The T-34 was a tank that performed an important function within the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany in World Warfare Two.
The footage was posted on Fb by Sergey Kavry, a member of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) nature organisation, after which shared by native media.
Mr Kavry mentioned the video had been shared with a WhatsApp group for the indigenous individuals of the Chukotka area in Russia’s Far East, and that scientists monitoring wildlife within the space wouldn’t have branded the bear in such a means.
“I do not know the small print of which area, district, or neighborhood this [footage] was taken,” he mentioned, including: “If it is a army lettering theme… that’s some form of perverse disrespect for historical past.”
The press officer for WWF Russia, Daria Buyanova, informed the BBC that seeing the pictures was “fairly a shock” and that the inscription “appears like a foul joke”.
A scientist on the Institute of Organic Issues of the North, Anatoly Kochnev, mentioned it was unlikely that the bear may have been painted with out it being sedated.
He mentioned the bear couldn’t have been cell, or no less than will need to have been fairly nonetheless whereas it was being sprayed as a result of “the characters are evenly written and are all the identical dimension”.
He urged the incident could have taken place within the distant Russian area of Novaya Zemlya, the place a group of specialists had earlier sedated polar bears that had been wandering into populated areas.
Mr Kochnev mentioned it may take weeks for the markings to scrub off, and this might trigger issues for the animal, which depends on its white coat when searching prey within the Arctic snow and ice.
Consultants at the moment are attempting to find out the origin of the video.
Russian media speculated that the stunt was linked to native anger at an increase within the variety of polar bears coming into communities in Arctic Russia.
In February, a state of emergency was declared within the Novaya Zemlya area over the looks of dozens of polar bears in a number of cities and villages within the Arctic.
Footage from the archipelago confirmed the animals roaming by way of buildings and exploring populated areas.
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Media captionWhy polar bears are invading human settlements in Russia