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Bear Roams Streets in Siberia

A bear ran amok in the streets of the Siberian city of Nizhnevartovsk on Monday, confirming what every foreigner already knew about Russia.

In the early hours, local police received a call warning that a brown bear was wandering through the 16th district of the oil-rich town on the Ob river, the Tyumen Times reported.

First making his way to a kindergarten where he wandered around for a bit, the bear then set off into the streets. "For the first few hours, the police and rescue services followed the bear's movements," said Vadim Tatarenkov, deputy director of the local rescue service.

"People are saying that the bear looked a little over a year old. God knows why the noise of the city didn't scare him off. My theory is that a local was keeping the bear. Then, when he grew up and became difficult to feed, he was let free."

As the story broke, the Federal Service for Natural Resources Use, Russia's environmental watchdog in Khanty-Mansiisk, 300 kilometers from Nizhnevartovsk, warned of bears roaming the highways in search of food. These bears, known colloquially as "goodbye bears," wait for scraps from drivers, and they've become so common that signs have been erected on the main road out of town warning drivers not to stop.

"Before you know what's happening the bear will be in your car, and you'll be in the woods. Either that, or it'll take your hand off along with your piece of salami," said Alexei Zalibekov, deputy head of the environmental watchdog's local branch.

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