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Zoo keeper who lost her leg in recent bear attack begs to pardon the predator

By The Siberian Times reporter
27 September 2019

‘Please don’t punish her, she is not aggressive’, the handler pleads from her hospital bed.

Vera the zoo keeper was immediately rushed to the hospital, but doctors said they were unable to rescue her lower leg. Picture: The Siberian Times

Vera Blishch, experienced zoo keeper and passionate animal activist was hit by vertigo as she was showing a new member of staff how to clean a bear’s cage. 

‘She kneeled down to show how to feed a bear, then quickly stood up and felt dizzy. To gain balance Vera leaned towards a cage for split second. This was enough for a bear to pull its paw through the cage’s bars and to strike ’, said a colleague from Ussuriysk Municipal Zoo who witnessed the tragic accident. 

Vera’s leg was clawed and bitten by a 20 years old female Himalayan bear called Manyunya (tender for Masha), resulting in multiple fractures.  

The zoo keeper was immediately rushed to the hospital, but doctors said they were unable to rescue her lower leg.

Zoo keeper who lost her leg in recent bear attack begs to pardon the predator


Zoo keeper who lost her leg in recent bear attack begs to pardon the predator

Manyunya the bear is 20 years old. Pictures: The Siberian Times


Minutes after she woke up from the amputation, Vera called for the bear to be spared punishment. Knowing that wild animals get destroyed after attacking humans, Vera said it was not Manyunya’s fault. 

‘I suddenly felt dizzy, I don’t remember how I ended up so close to the cage.

I've been working with predators for over 25 years, lots of things have happened over this time - but I can say with confidence that the animals was not to blame. Manyunya is not aggressive’, the zoo keeper said. 

No decision was made on the bear’s fate. Russian Investigative committee launched a probe into circumstances of the attack.

Zoo keeper who lost her leg in recent bear attack begs to pardon the predatorq


Zoo keeper who lost her leg in recent bear attack begs to pardon the predator


Zoo keeper who lost her leg in recent bear attack begs to pardon the predator


Zoo keeper who lost her leg in recent bear attack begs to pardon the predator
Vera Blishch, 56, begs not to punish the black bear that attacked her. Pictures: The Siberian Times


Vera was pictured and filmed kissing bears, warning that it was extremely dangerous.

'Bears are trained almost nowhere except for Russia,' she said. 'Even by  just kissing the bear now I might lose my head within a split second

'To work with a bear, you must have a special feeling.

We say it’s a feeling sent by God. You must feel a bear.'

VERA BLISHCH FILMED KISSING A BEAR


Comments (5)

these are the conditions in which the bear has to live? if there is not more that we do not see on the photos, shame on the Barnaul zoo!!!!!!!!!!
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
01/10/2019 08:34
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And to be honest this is the worst exhibit i've seen for bears! I couldn't in good faith be happy to see any animal couped up in such a small cage! with no gras or river or space to live naturally...
considering brown bears may travel hundreds of kilometers...criminals have more rights than these, they have the comforts of home - but have treated others badly - where as humans have treated these animals badly - and they recieve solitary confinement and a sad life to be entertainment for others.
If we take away their freedom for money, we should make their life beautiful.
N, in the world
01/10/2019 02:28
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Vera is marvelous! and really shows her love and dedication to her animals more than any other!
Animals don't live by human rules, it didn attack out of hate or as a malicious act, so please let the animal alone!.
The bear isnt malicious, no animals are! they simply cant lie!
It is just living out its natural rythym of what it knows, while confined foe entertainment for humans,
and reacting how it does naturally how would killing be just/and proportinal to the crime (when it is already living behind bars and not free!?) - even the person that suffered doesnt wish it!
N, In the world
01/10/2019 02:16
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I feel so sad to see the picture of the bear lying on hard concrete in such a small cage. The animal must be tormented with boredom and it is no wonder it attacked at the slightest opportunity. The zoo should release the animal into a MUCH larger enclosure !
Peter Fawdon, United Kingdom
30/09/2019 19:38
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I'm with Vera and the bear. It was a natural reaction by the bear, not malicious or intended to kill. I hope the authorities use common sense here. There is no history of it being a problem bear. Leave it be.
Chad Hammond, United States
28/09/2019 09:47
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