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Islanders arrange bears' picnic to prevent ravenous wild animals entering towns and villages

By The Siberian Times reporter
26 August 2015

Shortage of fish in rivers had led to hungry beasts prowling close to homes.

A local company named Gidrostroy dumps its fish waste in an open space in the forest: specially so the bears can come and eat. Picture: Natalia Golubkova/Sakhalin Info

Across many areas of Russia this summer there have been reports of ravenous bears encroaching into residential areas in search of food. On Iturup - one of the Kuril Islands in the Far East of Russia - locals came up with a solution to make them safer from potential attacks. 

A local company named Gidrostroy dumps its fish waste in an open space in the forest: specially so the bears can come and eat. The site is four kilometres from Kurilsk, and seems to prevent the bears venturing further into town to scavenge in garbage bins. 

But now the the bear glade has become an attraction of its own, a real life local wildlife park, with locals watching from the safety of their vehicles. The picnic site for bears was put in place after an attack on a 14 year old boy close to garbage bins last year.  He was savagely injured but doctors saved his life.  

Bears on Iturup


Bears on Iturup


Bears on Iturup


Bears on Iturup


Bears on Iturup


Bears on Iturup


Bears on Iturup

The bear glade has become an attraction of its own, a real life local wildlife park, with locals watching from the safety of their vehicles. Pictures: Natalia Golubkova/Sakhalin Info

Pavel Kravchenko, deputy general director of Gidrostroy, said: 'Sometimes you can see more than ten bears eating at once.' But he complained that some locals had illegally shot at the bears. 'Once there were people who were shooting. You know, there are a lot of idiots, they just came to shoot for 'fun',' he said. 

The island has experienced a dearth of fish in local rivers, normally a staple for bears. This year Gidrostroy has fished only 500 tons of pink salmon, compared with 10,000-30,000 tons in other years. 

Despite the lack of fish, the community-minded company made residents safer by dumping their leftovers from fish processing at the picnic spot. Three local rivers - Kurilka, Rybatskaya, and Kuibyshevka - were said to be virtually without fish. 

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