200 children besieged by brown bears in Yakutia

The wily animal doesn’t enter the fenced territory, but sends the cubs to collect easy food.

Family of predators terrorise summer camp in heart of Russia’s coldest region – with 83 year old hunter standing guard.

By The Siberian Times

A mother bear with two cubs – a one year old and a cub born this year – has camped her family right next to the children’s base, attracted by smell from kitchen and rubbish bins.

The animals came to the camp two weeks ago and so far refuse to leave the area. The cubs have been seen stealing throwaway food from bins in the kitchen area. The mother circles around the camp, but has not herself entered the territory. Currently there are 200 children at the camp, aged from 7 to 15. Some children are under foster care, others usually attend a disability rehabilitation centre.

The bear family first prowled around the town of Tommot, some 400 km southwest of the regional capital city Yakutsk.

Mother bear with cubs

A mother bear with two cubs – a one year old and a cub born this year – has camped her family right next to the children’s base. Stock picture

They were hunting for food but were scared scared by preventive shooting in the air. The mother with the cubs swam across the Aldan River and settled next to the children’s camp Bereg Druzhby (The Shore of Friendship).

An 83 years old hunter was called to protect the camp, but so far he failed to spot the mother bear to scare her away.

The wily animal doesn’t enter the fenced territory, but sends the cubs to collect easy food. The hunter said that he won’t hurt or upset the cubs – not to anger their mother. Worried parents said that they were concerned by the age of the hunter, and went to journalists to seek more attention to the story. Igor Sakhno, deputy head of Aldan district who is in charge of the camp, said: ‘I was told about the bears. ‘The camp’s director is dealing with it.

‘We informed everyone in the camp and around it, there is nothing to be scared about.’

Asked if he was being complacent over the danger, he replied: ‘There have always been bears here. ‘I don’t remember a single summer without them roaming around…

Bereg Druzhby camp


Bereg Druzhby camp

Bereg Druzhby (The Shore of Friendship) children camp.

‘They’ve always been going to rubbish sites. ‘And this summer they went through the rubbish bins. ‘I don’t think there is something big to worry about there.’ He was confident the hunter could cope with the bears. Camp director Alexander Mekhedov said: ‘I have a specialist hunter with a license to shoot brown bear. ‘He is 83 years old, but he is a specialist. ‘He spent all night long looking out for them last night.

‘It’s good that he did, as two brown bears – a one year old and a cub born this year – keep roaming the camp.

‘It is the same bear family that has been walking around Tommot.’ He said the cubs were not directly threatening the children. ‘The cubs don’t walk about the whole camp site, they just run towards the kitchen area, quickly grab bags with rubbish and run away.

‘They are easy to shoot, but we won’t do it.

Bereg Druzhby camp


Bereg Druzhby camp


Bereg Druzhby camp

Mother-bear and her cubs swam across Aldan river and settled next to the camp.

‘The territory is properly fenced, the animals won’t break through. There is no need to start evacuation, everything is under control.’ Now more hunters are on patrol after the local media took up the came, according to some later reports. Head of the Aldan district Severin Pozdnyakov told TASS news agency: ‘There are bear traps set all around the camp, four hunters are on 24/7 patrol.

‘We will not kill bears unless there is direct threat. ‘This is not an unusual situation for us. ‘We live in the taiga, this is part of our life.’ Foresters in Yakutia, Khabarovsk region and Kamchatka reported more bears coming close to people this year. Many migrate because of a spate of wildfires.

This year authorities of Yakutia issued 81 licenses to kill brown bears.

Ref.: http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/200-children-besieged-by-brown-bears-in-yakutia/

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