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Russian Bear Shot Dead After Breaking Into Empty Shopping Mall; Activists Protest


A Russian brown bear went on a rampage through a shopping mall in Russia's Far East, smashing storefronts before being shot dead.

Surveillance video showed the frantic bear roaming the empty shopping center after it had closed for the night late on October 13 in the city of Khabarovsk.

Local police said the bear eventually managed to escape and was tracked down and surrounded in the courtyard of a kindergarten.

"Without waiting for the veterinary service to arrive, the bear was killed in order to avoid any attacks against local residents," a city investigative committee said.

But the killing of the bear sparked outrage from animal rights activists, who pushed for a probe of the police slaying.

"The police did what was simplest," local activist Natalia Kovalenko said. "First, they made it crazy by smoking it out of the mall. Then, when the animal came out and was defending itself out of fear, they shot it."

Foraging bears regularly wander into towns in Russia, especially as drought and wildfires have forced the animals to search for food closer to inhabited areas.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP
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