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Bears get 'good behaviour' marks in Tomsk, but two animals are shot in Kamchatka for digging graves

By The Siberian Times reporter
12 May 2013

Fewer bears in the Siberian region of Tomsk this year are waking from hibernation and hungrily raiding remote villages and towns scavenging for food.

Police issued a warning to locals about the risk of bears recently woken hungry from hibernation. Picture: Pazhetnov family

But this 'better behaviour' is not seen in Yelizovo municipal cemetery in Kamchatka, in the Far East of Russia, where three bears were spotted by locals digging up graves and devouring a human corpse. Shocked passers-by reported the grave-looting bears. 

'Police inspected the scene and found that the animals had dug out a grave closest to the road and had broken open a coffin. One was mauling a human corpse', said a report from 'Vesti Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy'.

Two of the three bears were shot. The disturbed corpse was in part of the graveyard where people with unknown identities are buried. 

Police issued a warning to locals about the risk of bears recently woken hungry from hibernation. It read: 'Warning everyone! It is a dangerous period now, with bears waking from hibernation and seeking food near and inside human settlements. Please call 02 (emergency number) as soon as you see bears nearby'.

Kamchatka boasts a bear population of 18,000.

brown bears Siberia

Back in Tomsk, the bear behaviour among the region's 8,800 bears is better than in recent years, according to Konstantin Osadchy, head of the local nature protection committee. Picture: Pazhetnov family

In another region, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, a bear was spotted 'begging' for food from passing cars at the roadside. 

'When we arrived at the location, we saw passing motorists feeding a bear by the highway and posing for pictures near it,' said a forest authority spokesman.

They tried to scare away the bear shooting into the air and using fireworks but the following day the animal returned again. The bear was shot because of the risk it posed to people trying to feed it. 

Back in Tomsk, the bear behaviour among the region's 8,800 bears is better than in recent years, according to Konstantin Osadchy, head of the local nature protection committee.

'Compared to this time in previous years, things are somehow calmer now, there were times when about a dozen had to be shot between the end of April and beginning of May,' he said.

In 2012 'hooligan bears' had to be shot, and in 2011 the figure was even higher - around 50. They are deemed to pose a threat to people or livestock by encroaching too close to settlements. Only one has been shot this year, he said, adding that the change in attitude from the bears comes at a time their numbers are growing rapidly with three times as many as in 1997.

Comments (3)



In Washington state we have an Elk heard that is fed for a period of time in the winter time to help keep them from eating grain from neighboring farms. It's been working for many years. When the Elk hear the hay truck engine coming into the feeding field they come pouring out of the woods in droves. Maybe something like that would work here, but they'll get habituated to it.
Tim, Bellevue/USA
27/07/2013 06:09
1
0
Zoologists say - it is not a good idea, to leave the human food for bears, because they get addiction to it and began to search it near the human settlements. So it can cause the aggression and conflicts between bears and human.
Anna , Siberia
13/05/2013 00:10
1
0
have there been an experience of leaving food for the bears in the woods, so that they get through this hungry period and don't come out to bother people?
Berg, Norway
12/05/2013 01:02
1
0
1

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