Sunday, 19 May 2013

The bears who like to get high: Russian animals are so addicted to aviation fuel they sniff it until they pass out

· Photographer Igor Shpilenok spent seven months observing the bears 

· The brown bears live at the Kronotsky Nature Reserve in Russia's far east 

PUBLISHED: 14:46, 17 March 2013 | UPDATED: 07:59, 18 March 2013 

These brown bears are keen to play with discarded barrels - because they have developed a nose for aviation fuel. 

The creatures sniff kerosene and gasoline from containers left in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve in the far east of Russia. 

They take deep breaths for minutes at a time before digging a shallow hole and lying in a 'nirvana' position. 

The fuel is used to power generators and helicopters used by nature reserve workers. 

Photographer Igor Shpilenok, 52, spent seven months with the community of bears. 

He said some of the addicted predators even stalked helicopters, waiting for take off and drops of fuel to leak onto the hard soil for them to hoover up. 

He added: 'In another case a helicopter brought a few barrels of gasoline. 

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