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Desperate for Food, Wild Bears Dig Up Graves

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Russia’s hottest summer on record, which wiped out most of the natural habitat and food supply of its animal population, has resulted in a gruesome new trend: bears digging up human corpses for food.

Two cemetery visitors in a northern republic of Komi village described seeing “a figure they thought was wearing a fur coat leaning over a grave,” the Daily Mail reported. “But when they approached, they realised it was a bear eating a human body and discovered the victims’ clothes thrown across other graves.”

The director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare told the Guardian that a bear learned how to open a coffin and taught other bears to do the same. “They are pretty quick learners,” she said.

She also told the newspaper, “The story is horrible. Nobody wants to think about having a much loved member of their family eaten by a bear.”

Officials are concerned that wild bears are developing a taste for live human flesh, with rising attacks already occurring. The Associated Press reported that “a man in his 20s barely escaped with his life when he was mauled by an aggressive bear in early September on the fringes of the regional capital city,” adding, “In the most notorious incident, in 2008 a pack of up to 30 Kamchatka bears—which are similar to grizzlies—prowled around two mines of a local platinum mining company where they killed the two guards and laid siege to workers inside company premises.”

Russia is not the only country experiencing bear aggression. The Environment Ministry in Japan reported that 84 bear attacks occurred between April and September 2010, resulting in four deaths and surpassing 64 incidents in the previous year.

“The attacks [in Japan] have drawn national attention and TV news broadcasts have shown bears walking down residential streets or climbing trees near houses” (The Associated Press).


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