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2 Far East Cities Put on Bear Alert

Residents in two Far East cities have been told to be on the lookout for hungry bears after three were shot for endangering the local populace.

On Monday three bears were spotted in a cemetery in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka, 6,500 kilometers east of Moscow, one of which was picking over a human corpse that it had dug up, Interfax reported.

Two of the bears were shot, but the third escaped into the woods.

Last week, forest rangers in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the capital of Sakhalin Island, responded to reports from the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry that a bear was looking for food by the side of a highway.

"People had gotten out of their cars with their children and were feeding the animal practically out of their hands, which is very dangerous," forest ranger Alexander Galko said Tuesday, according to Interfax.

Wardens tried to scare the bear away with gunshots, but instead it started to approach the people standing nearby, so they decided to shoot it.

"This is the first time this year we have had to shoot an animal, because it represented a real threat to the population," Galko said.

He explained that lingering snow in forests stops bears getting to the roots of plants and the resultant hunger drives them to seek food in residential areas.

The police have appealed to people through local media to be vigilant.

The incidents came as a video was published on YouTube over the weekend showing a hungry bear chasing a Russian villager up a tree. The villager, a young man, managed to scare the bear away.

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