When in Siberia, do as the Russians do: polar bear proof your home by installing spiked metal grills over every ground floor window.
Wrangel Island is about as back-of-the-beyond as it gets, even for Siberia. The 2,900 square mile island lies just under 90 miles off the mainland, surrounded by the frigid Arctic Ocean.
How isolated is Wrangel Island? Let's put it this way: it was the site of the Woolly Mammoths' last stand – the majestic creatures grazed the wintry wasteland until they finally went extinct about 2,000 years ago.
These days, another type of shaggy creature roams the wilds of Wrangel Island – polar bears. The island boasts the highest density of polar bear dens on the planet. Nice if you're a bear, not so much for human beings.
Wrangel Island's only organized settlement was the now-abandoned town of Ushakovskoye, founded in 1926. Ushakovskoye's last inhabitant, a woman named Vasilina Alpaun, was fatally attacked by a polar bear near her home in October of 2003.
Yet people still live on Wrangel Island, as staff monitoring the Wrangel Island Nature Reserve need someplace to hang their snowshoes. It's not clear whether the formidable spiked metal grills seen in these images protect the windows of homes currently in use.
They do appear to be a practical deterrent against hungry and/or curious polar bears, however. Not installing them might lead to grizzly, er, grisly consequences... just ask poor Ms Alpaun. (via English Russia)