Monday, 4 August 2014

Bear attacks leave at least three people dead in Siberia and far-east Russia

Experts suggest extreme weather could be disrupting biorhythms and food supply, and fishing nets cutting off access to salmon
Alec Luhn in Moscow, Friday 1 August 2014 13.47 BST
A rash of bear attacks in Russia have left at least three people dead and many more injured in recent weeks as record high temperatures, freak snow, hailstorms and flooding hit Siberia and the country's far east.

Human activity may be behind some of the attacks. Experts cited by the news agency Interfax said nets and obstacles have prevented salmon from swimming up rivers to spawn, leaving bears without a regular food supply.

Extreme weather can also disrupt the predators' biorhythms and food supply, said Vladimir Krever, director of the biodiversity programme at WWF Russia.

Recent attacks include one at 2am on Wednesday at a meteorological station in the forests of Sakha Republic. A bear broke down the door of a residential trailer and bit the arm of the woman inside, only to be scared away by her loud screaming.

Three days earlier another bear ambushed a boy on Iturup island as he was walking home from his grandmother's house. The bear had dragged the 14-year-old to the shore by the time police arrived and shot it dead. The boy had 170 stitches and remains in critical condition.

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