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KHABAROVSK, October 14. /TASS/. Investigators in Khabarovsk, Far East Russia, have launched a probe after police killed a brown bear which found its way into a city shopping centre.
The animal was later lured to grounds of a nearby kindergarten where it was killed by two shots. Police claimed the animal was injured by a glass door at the shopping centre overnight to Sunday and could have turned dangerous.
"All circumstances of the incident are being established, including whether police use of weapons against the animal was legal," said a senior aide to the local investigators department head, adding that officers opened fire before an expert on animal behaviour had arrived at the scene.
Natalya Kovalenko, head of local animal rights organisation Zoosachita-DV, said the animal could have been caught and isolated by more humane means.
"Police chose the easiest way to act. At first they drove him into a frenzy," she said. "When the animal left [the shopping centre] and started protecting himself due to dreadful fear he was shot," she said.
Bear activity has been on the rise as the animals must accumulate fat before hibernation in late November. The hungry animals have been frequenting local villages in the search for food.
This year, hunters have shot some 60 bears posing a threat to humans. Two people have died in attacks and another four were wounded.