Octogenarian Russian herdsmen kicks and headbutts animal, which tosses him off a cliff – but he lives to tell the tale.
An octogenarian versus a hungry Russian bear.
It was a confrontation that could have ended only one way, and yet herdsmen Yusuf Alchagirov was sitting upright in bed this week and happily munching on the three traditional pies his family had baked in celebration at his survival.
The bear approached Alchagirov, 80, in a raspberry field in the southern Russian region of Kabardino-Balkaria last week, but despite his age, Alchagirov showered kicks and headbutts on the bear and managed to knock it off balance.
The bear, apparently irritated by the feisty herdsmen, tossed him off a cliff and sauntered away, said Alchagirov in an interview with local television.
He was hospitalised with bruises, bite wounds and four broken ribs, but was spared a mauling, and released within a few days. It is not known whether the bear suffered any lasting injuries.
“I got off easy. It would have killed me if I’d chickened out,” Alchagirov said.
Bears attack humans only when they are either provoked or hungry, according to Russian experts.
Over the autumn there have been a number of reports of hungry bears approaching villages in the far east of the country, after devastating floods destroyed much of their natural food sources.
In the region of Yakutia, one town witnessed six bear incursions in a month, and local authorities reported hungry animals breaking into people’s houses and emptying the fridges.
The bears became such a nuisance that a programme was put in place to shoot the scavenging animals.
In the most recent case, locals believed the bear was probably only playing with Alchagirov, Russian media said, and thus were not planning to track down the animal.