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Bear defending her cubs hospitalizes Russian man

A Russian man was responsible for an attack by a female bear that hospitalized him, since he had tried to approach her cubs, officials in the Far Eastern Sakhalin province said Tuesday.

The victim, a resident of the Pacific island Kunashir, encountered the bear and her offspring on Sunday, a few kilometres away from the nearest village.

He then attempted to move towards the bears instead of backing away, news agency Interfax quoted forest ministry official Aleksander Kostin. The mother bear struck the man with her paw and bit him repeatedly.

'The man broke the first rule of conduct for encountering a wild animal - don't provoke it,' Kostin said, adding that the victim's life was not in danger.

Regional authorities did not intend to shoot the bear as it was not responsible for the attack, the official said.

Another bear, in Russia's central Novosibirsk region, was shot dead in an ambush on Tuesday, according to news reports.

The bear had begun raiding domestic animal pens and beehives kept by residents of the village Lebedka and posed a threat to people living in the area, the regional environmental ministry said.

On Sunday a brown bear killed a pair of picnickers in Russia's Kamchatka peninsula, the most recent fatal bear-human encounter.

The man and his daughter had been resting on a river bank with friends in a remote region when the animal attacked, according to news reports.

Russia is home to the world's largest population of brown bears, with the total estimated at 120,000 animals.

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