Starving bears in Russia are so desperate for food they are digging up graves and eating corpses.
Two women reported seeing a beast gorging on a dead body after first thinking it was a man in fur coat leaning over a tomb.
The shocked pair, who spotted the bear on Saturday in the northern republic of Komi, near the Arctic Circle, cried out frightening the creature off.
They told a Russian newspaper they were then confronted by a ghoulish scene with the clothes of the bear’s victim thrown over adjacent tombstones.
Officials in the village of Vezhnya Tchova say the shortage of the bears’ traditional food — berries and mushrooms — due to a scorching summer has forced the animals to resort to eating human corpses.
It has also been claimed that the hungry bears have mauled living people in their search for food.
Simion Razmislov, the head of a local hunting society, said: “They are really hungry this year. It’s a big problem. Many of them are not going to survive.”
World Wildlife Fund Russia said there had been a similar case two years ago in the town of Kandalaksha, in the northern Karelia republic.
Masha Vorontsova, director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Russia, said: “You have to remember that bears are natural scavengers. In the US and Canada you can’t leave any food in tents in national parks.
“In Karelia one bear learned how to do it [open a coffin]. He then taught the others. They are pretty quick learners.”
by Vince Soodin
published: 27th October 2010