Hungry bears forced out of Siberian village by cold

NOVOSIBIRSK, November 11 (RIA Novosti) - The hungry bears that have terrorized a village in Siberia's Altai Territory for several months have left the area due to a drop in the temperature, a spokesperson for a local nature reserve said on Tuesday.

At least 20 bears entered the south Siberian village of Yailyu - located on the territory of the nature reserve - in late August in search of food. The bears hunted at night, killing chickens and cattle, destroying fences and sheds, and occasionally attacking humans.

"With the first frost, the bears left. The locals have not met any bears for around two weeks," said Sergei Varganov, a forester at the nature reserve, adding that the animals might have gone into hibernation.

Bears start their hibernation in November after building up enough reserve body fat to make it through the winter. However, if bears fail to eat enough food, they can wake up and pose a threat to humans.

Meanwhile, wildlife experts have advised the villagers to continue taking measures to protect themselves, as not all the bears might have started hibernation and could later return to the village.

In late October, a villager survived an attack by a brown bear. Locals said they also killed three bears that had entered the village and were posing a threat.

Killing the bears is banned by the environmental protection agency Rosprirodnadzor. The villagers said they had resorted to killing the creatures after other efforts to repel them had failed.

The director of the nature reserve, Svetlana Shigreva, earlier said such behavior from the bears had never been seen in the reserve's 76-year history. Wildlife experts say the bears have been forced to look further afield for food due to a local shortage of berries and nuts.

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