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9 Aug, 2007 01:27

Pet bear runs wild in village

A man has been killed and his wife seriously injured after a bear attacked them in the Moscow region.

The bear, which had escaped from a cage where it was held,  was later shot.

It's the second serious accident involving bears in Russia in less than a week.

The tragic incident happened early on Wednesday morning in the village of Malaya Illinskaya about 150 from the capital.

A brown bear, raised by one of the local villagers and kept as a pet near his dacha for two years got out of its cage and ran into a neighbour, Svetlana Malakhova, as she was picking mushrooms in the woods. Her husband, Alksandr Malakhov, died trying to protect his wife from the bear.

One of her neighbours was walking close-by when he heard screaming.

“A woman ran up to me for help, she said that a bear was attacking her daughter. I rushed over and saw her lying here. The woman said the bear was throttling her husband over there. I thought I should go to take some tools – something. I ran for my friends and when we came here we saw a man and a bear lying here,” said Aleksandr, a villager.

But they were too late. The bear was shot dead during the struggle, but it had cost Svetlana’s husband his life.

Investigators now say that the bear escaped by burrowing under its cage.

Police have said they are anxious to interview it’s owner but he has not been arrested and was unavailable for comment.

Svetlana Malakhova is recovering from her injuries in hospital, but remains under observation in intensive care

Her ordeal is the second confirmed report of a bear attack in Russia in less than  seven days. 

Last weekend a young girl had her hand bitten off by a bear in the Far Eastern Khabarovsk region after reaching into it’s cage to feed it.  She later had to have her arm amputated.