TOMSK, May 10 (RIA Novosti) – Bears waking up after their winter hibernation in Tomsk, Siberia are better behaved this year than last year, the head of the local nature protection committee, told RIA Novosti on Friday.
“Compared to this time in previous years, things are somehow calmer now, there were times when about a dozen [bears] had to be shot between the end of April and beginning of May,” Konstantin Osadchy, head of the nature protection committee in Tomsk told RIA Novosti.
At this time of year, Russian bears wake up from their winter hibernation hungry, and often head to areas of human habitation in search of food.
They are usually only shot after local forest rangers or other officials deem they pose a danger to the human population, or livestock, in a region.
The bear population in the area is growing. In 2011 there were about 8,800 bears in the Tomsk Region, whereas in 1997 the bear population there was just 2,800. So any decrease in incidents is not down to a decline in the bear population.
So far there has been only one incident in which a bear in Tomsk Region had to shot, Osadchy said.
In 2012 a total of 33 “hooligan bears” as they are dubbed in the Russian media, had to be shot. In 2011 this figure was higher still, at about 50.
In Russia’s Far East, bears have recently been sighted digging up corpses in a cemetery, and begging for food from passing cars along a highway.