Police in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Khabarovsk region have begun an investigation after a bear entered a graveyard in a local suburb near the forest north of the city, unearthed a recently buried body, and dragged it away.
“An investigative-operational group, dog handler and hunting expert were sent to the scene of the incident,” a police spokesperson explained. “Footprints belonging to a bear were found. The body of the deceased has not yet been found,” the spokesperson added.
Yuri Kolpak, the head of the regional ministry of natural resources, said ministry employees were given permission to shoot the animal, and that they found and killed it.
According to Kolpak, the reason for the appearance of bears in local cemeteries is usually very banal, with people leaving food out at grave sites, and the animals coming in and snacking on everything edible. Possible violations in grave depth standards by local workers may also be an issue, he said.
“This type of thing happens every year at Komsomolsk-on-Amur’s cemeteries,” Kolpak explained.
The region’s administration said the blame for the incident lay strictly on the bear, since the cemetery in question is quite large, and it’s impossible to ensure permanent protection for the whole territory, particularly since cemetery workers are not allowed to shoot the animals as it is a criminal offence to do so.
The search for the body of the deceased is still under way. According to local news resource AmurMedia, the body was that of a recently buried man, with the torn clothing of the deceased being all that was found at the cemetery.
Violent interactions between bears and humans are typically more common in the springtime, when the hungry animals roam into settlements in search of food. Earlier this year, Sputnik reported on the growing number of instances of polar bears approaching human settlements in the Russian Arctic amid global warming and the melting of ice in the region.