Animal-rights activists in Russia are in an uproar this week, after footage appeared on YouTube showing unidentified men apparently in the Far Eastern area of Yakutia crushing a bear under two heavy snow trucks. Local police and Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry have responded, and the suspects in the video face up to two years in prison, if convicted of abusing the animal, according to the news agency RIA Novosti.
The footage was first uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 26. We warn readers that the video’s content is disturbing. You can watch it here.
In the video, apparently recorded on a mobile phone, several men in heavy trucks deliberately drive over a large brown bear caught in the snow. They back over the animal several times, noting that it’s still breathing. It is unclear from the footage if the bear ultimately survived the attack. Judging by the dialogue in the video, the animal did nothing to provoke the men.
Regional law-enforcement agencies have launched investigations into the incident, and Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoi wrote on Facebook that he is working to find those responsible and bring them to justice.
So far, officials have not publicly identified the men in the video. According to RIA Novosti’s sources in the regional police force, the suspects are local residents.