A wild bear’s Russian mall shopping spree was caught on video by security cameras and local media. In the end, police in the Russian city of Khabarovsk claim they had to shoot the brown bear dead in order to prevent a potential bear attack, but animal rights groups claim the law enforcement officers should have figured out a way to subdue the animal. In response, the Investigative Committee, Russia’s main state investigative agency, is launching a probe into the actions by the police officers.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, a wild bear in Montana went running through a local high school, and the whole incident was caught on video and photos.
Khabarovsk police are defending their actions by claiming they were trying to prevent a “shopping maul.” The wild brown bear was first spotted near a local sporting arena, but by time police officers arrived to stop the bear, Russian mall shoppers were already fleeing in all directions.
Videos shot by surveillance cameras and local media show the wild bear attacking a window, breaking it into pieces in order to enter the Russian mall. Camouflaged police officers armed with guns are shown chasing the bear, and they apparently used smoke in order to chase the animal out of the shopping area. After the panicked animal fled down the street, it came close to a kindergarten playground, so police say they were forced to shoot in order to prevent a potential bear attack.
“Without waiting for the veterinary service to arrive the bear was killed in order to avoid any attacks against local residents,” the city’s investigative committee said in a statement, according to AFP.
Russia’s Investigative Committee is launching a probe into whether or not the local police in Khabarovsk should have killed the bear. Local animal rights activist Natalia Kovalenko says the police did the right thing in killing the bear once it reached the kindergarten playground, but he also believes the situation should have been handled better from the outset.
“The police did what was simplest,” Kovalenko explained. “First they made it crazy by smoking it out of the mall, then when the animal came out and was defending itself out of fear, they shot it…. The choice here was obvious: they had to act fast to avoid human casualties.”
Based upon previous reports from the Inquisitr, Khabarovsk police do have a good reasoning for fearing a potential bear attack. Bear hunting has dropped in popularity ever since China legalized bear farming in their territory, and now hunters are no longing killing bears in order to trade for their fur. As such, the Khabarovsk Region’s Environmental Resources Ministry says the local brown bear population has exploded, and they believe there are at least 15,000 brown bears in their region.
As these bears have roamed into human territory, the number of bear sightings have increased to the point that local authorities considered it an emergency situation. In 2015 alone, there have been 30 bear sightings near humans in the area, and during the summer, a fisherman was torn to pieces during a bear attack. In September, another bear was put down since it was stealing honey from a collection of beehives.
As for what caused the bear’s Russian mall romp, officials in Siberia say drought and forest wildfires have forced the wild brown bears to start foraging for food outside of their usual range. In fact, in order to reach the Russian mall, the wild bear would have needed to swim across a 1.16-kilometer section of the Amur River.
But Andrey Mamayev, head of Russia’s hunting monitoring agency, believes the bear was young in age and was simply trying to find a place to hibernate for the first time since being separated from its mother.
“We can conclude that the inexperienced bear decided to swim across the Amur River in search of a den,” Mamaev said.
Do you think the police did the right thing in shooting the bear dead after it was chased from the Russian mall?
[Photo by Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images]