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Bears lacking food and fearing wildfires come close to people

August 08, 2012, 19:40 UTC+3

Last weekend a big brown bear was seen in the Stolby nature reserve which directly adjoins Krasnoyarsk

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KRASNOYARSK , August 8 (Itar-Tass) — Brown bears fearing wildfires and lacking food have been frequenting settlements in the Krasnoyarsk region in Siberia. For the time being the bears are peaceful; they have already been seen near big cities and have been coming close to people both at night and in the day time.

Last weekend a big brown bear was seen in the Stolby nature reserve which directly adjoins Krasnoyarsk; another one came close to a tourist tent compound. A bear was also seen on a central road in Sokaryovka dacha cooperative situated in the town of Zelenogorsk near Krasnoyarsk. Onlookers confirmed it was not a first visit of the animal to people. Earlier, the bear had crept close to orchards near 0 a forest zone, and this week the animal practically took to walking along the lanes of the dacha cooperative.

Experts of Stolby nature reserve link the bears' behavior to a spell of hot, dry weather which reduced the forest yield of berries. Wildfires have worsened the situation, said senior expert of Stolby nature reserve Vladimir Kozhechkin. Mass arrival of the bears provokes the struggle for food, which makes the animals more aggressive. The situation might stabilize by the end of August when nuts will ripen and lure the bears into forest zones rich in nut trees, the expert said.

Bears have became permanent visitors to Stolby park and sometimes they "drop in" at tourist zones. In 2011 when bears became excessively active the Stolby nature reserve was closed to visitors. This year admission to the nature park was restricted because of wildfires.

Doctors warned that wild animals are dangerous not only because they might attack, but they are also virus carriers and might infect people.

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