Zookeeper Known For Kissing Bears Has Leg Amputated After Being Savaged
A zookeeper who is known for kissing bears has had her leg amputated after being savaged by one of the animals.
Vera Blishch was attacked while training a new employee at the Ussuriysk Municipal Zoo in the east of Russia this (Wednesday) morning.
Vera was stood near a cage when a bear reportedly reached through the bars and clawed her before sinking its teeth into her leg. She was subsequently rushed to hospital, where she had to have a leg amputated from the knee down, according to the Siberian Times.
Speaking shortly after the savaging, chief doctor of Ussuriyak emergency ambulance, Alexander Fedyaikin, said: "The attack happened at 9.30 in the morning. A zoo keeper was instructing a new member of staff and went too close to a cage. A bear struck with its paw, causing an open fracture and a scalping injury."
Vera has spent many years working with bears and is known for her activism, notably wading through water to save caged bears following severe flooding in 2015.
In an interview in the same year, she was recorded kissing bears - something which she admitted was very dangerous.
She said: "It is very dangerous to do this. A bear is the most dangerous predator on earth.
"Bears are trained almost nowhere except for Russia. This is what the Russian training school is famous for.
"Even by just kissing the bear now I might lose my head within a split second.
"To work with a bear, you must have a special feeling. We say it's a feeling sent by God. You must feel a bear."
The attack took place half an hour before the zoo was due to open and it subsequently remained closed to visitors. It is unclear what happened to the bear.
Earlier this month, a man in Russia was eaten alive by a bear. Alexander Korneyev was out picking wild mushrooms when a brown bear savagely mauled him in eastern Russia, just outside the village of Suluk, about 5,300 miles east of Moscow.
The 66-year-old had only a penknife to try and defend himself against the powerful animal and was tragically 'eaten alive'. When the retired railway construction worker was found, it's said that not a single spot was left untouched.
According to reports, the lacerated remains of the elderly man were found on a dirt road close to the village. After discovering Mr Korneyev's corpse, locals hunted the bear down and shot it dead. It's said the animal still had the man's remains inside its stomach.
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