Extensive Bering Sea ice this winter may be bringing more polar bears than usual to St. Lawrence Island, and they're raiding whaling camps. Alaska Dispatch reports whalers from the villages of Gambell and Savoonga are packing carpentry supplies along with hunting gear for their trips to camp.
Whalers noticed the damage when they began shuttling supplies and gear for upcoming bowhead whale hunts to camps far from the village. The bears had punched holes in walls, broken doors and windows and crunched storm sheds. [Whaling captain Myron] Kinkeenuk had also heard that one cabin had evidence of a bear getting on the roof.
It's the first time in recent memory that Kinkeenuk has heard of bear break-ins at camps on the south side of the 1,791-square-mile island in the middle of the Bering Sea.