Hundreds of children in remote summer camp ‘under siege’ by family of bears
Two hundred children in a remote summer camp are besieged by a family of brown bears, it was reported today.
Four armed hunters are patrolling the perimeter of the grounds in Yakutia region, the coldest area of Russia.
The “wily” mother bear has been sending her two cubs to raid the kitchen rubbish skips far-flung Bereg Druzhby camp, say reports.
Security has been stepped up after an outcry from parents.
Initially officials at the state-run summer retreat drafted in an 83 year old hunter to provide security – but he failed to scare away the bear, leading to fury from parents over the safety of their children .
Since then three more professional hunters have been deployed on a round the clock watch.
The hunters have had the cubs in their sights but not shot at them – because the mother would become enraged and unpredictable.
Head of the Aldan district Severin Pozdnyakov said: ‘There are bear traps set all around the camp.
“Four hunters are on 24/7 patrol.
“We will not kill the bears unless there is direct threat.
“This is not an unusual situation for us.
“We live in the taiga, this is part of our life.”
Camp director Alexander Mekhedov admitted the cubs, one a baby and the other one year old, “keep roaming the camp”.
He said: "The cubs don’t walk about the whole camp site, they just run towards the kitchen area, quickly grab bags with rubbish and flee.
“They are easy to shoot, but we won’t do it.
“The territory is properly fenced, the animals won’t break through.
“There is no need to start evacuation, everything is under control.”
Igor Sakhno, deputy head of Aldan district who is in charge of the camp, was accused of complacency by the local media after saying he did not see anything “big” to worry about with the bears prowling the vicinity.
The mother circles around the camp, but has not herself entered the territory, say local reports.
Currently there are 200 children at the camp, aged from seven to 15.
Some children at the holiday centre are in foster care while others are handicapped.
The same family of bears had earlier gone into the nearby town of Tommot but were scared away by shooting into the air by locals.
They then swam across the Aldan River and settled next to the children’s camp.
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