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Bears Airlifted to Safety in Russia's Flood-Hit Far East

BLAGOVESHCHENSK — Rescuers have airlifted to safety two brown bears from a flooded tourism resort in Russia's Far East, the regional emergencies department said Monday.

A helicopter has taken the two adult bears to high ground some 800 meters from the Zelyonaya resort near Blagoveshchensk, in the Amur Region, which has been hit by the worst floods in 120 years.

"We will hire a man who will take care of the bears and feed them. The bears will stay here until the water level falls," the Zelyonaya resort director Grigory Nikishin said, reported.

Rescuers decided to evacuate the animals after the water level in the flood-ravaged area reached 1.5 meters (5 feet). The bears were given sedatives to calm them down before their cage was lifted into the air, the department's spokesperson said.

The bears had originally been moved to the Zelyonaya camp site from a local zoo that lacked funds to care properly for them. They had spent almost two weeks in a flooded cage at Zelyonaya before their evacuation.

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