83 starving brown bears shot dead after turning hostile

Forestry officials on Sakhalin Island in Russia were forced to take drastic measures against starving Kamchatka brown bears after the animals became hostile in their search for food.

The brown bears are entering villages seeking a food source and have become aggressive towards humans, cattle and dogs, the Agence France-Presse in Moscow reported via The Guardian.

Kamchatka brown bears facing a food shortage on Sakhalin Island in Russia turn their attention to humans. Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Regional forest ministry official Sergei Prokhorenko told local media that a fisherman and hunter were killed in bear attacks last month, the AFP reported.

Consequently, forestry officials shot and killed 83 aggressive brown bears, nearly three times more than last year.

“This has never happened before,” a forestry worker told AFP on condition of anonymity. “There are not enough fish, berries, nuts.”

The source told AFP that overfishing for salmon is at least partly to blame, saying fishing nets should not have been installed this summer because of so few fish “but they installed them anyway.”

The fishing season was called a “record flop” as a result of years of overfishing

“At this time of year bears should be balls of fat, but these animals have almost no fat at all,” the worker said.

Browns bears have eaten dogs, bitten a man’s hand, attacked cattle and dug up potatoes from a family’s vegetable garden. So emergency services are going from village to village looking for the aggressive brown bears.

“[The forestry worker] said he expected the crisis to continue until November, when malnourished bears usually freeze to death while others go into hibernation,” The Guardian wrote.

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