As many as 10 polar bears are preventing the scientists from venturing outside. Photo (generic): Courtesy of Wikipedia

**WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: The scientists received help from the crew of a passing ship on Tuesday. The polar bears were chased away, dogs and fireworks were delivered to help keep the bears at bay, and meteorological operations have resumed.

Five Russian scientists are surrounded by polar bears on a small Arctic island and awaiting help from the government in the form of trained dogs and fireworks.

According to the Itar-Tass news agency, the team of meteorologists has been instructed to remain inside until help arrives, even though that could take up to a month. (The weather station is in the Kara Sea,  2,800 miles from Moscow.)

As many as 10 polar bears began to loiter near the base recently, preventing the meteorologists from accessing observation platforms. On Monday, two bears broke a window in a warehouse containing a year's supply of food for the scientists.

Expedition leader Vladimar Plotnikov said the bears had not gained entry to the warehouse.

Despite foggy conditions, Plotnikov told Itar-Tass, he could see two large bears close to the base and at least one other bear in the distance.


Russia is planning to send dogs and fireworks to acre the bears away. Photo (generic): Courtesy of Wikipedia

The scientist is quoted by Newsweek as saying, "As of Saturday, a female bear has practically been sleeping under the Arctic station's windows."

Vasily Shevchenko, head of the agency that manages the weather station, told Itar-Tass: "We recommended the plant personnel to tread with extreme care and not to leave the premises of the building."

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In the past, Plotnikov explained, bears would leave the island in summer months. The scientists carry flares to scare the bears away, but have exhausted their supply.

Polar bears, which can weigh more than 1,000 pounds, are protected in Russia and there are no plans to kill any of the animals.

However, Shevchenko is quoted by NBC News as saying that in a worst-case scenario, "the station chief has a gun.”

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