Russia's Natural Resources Ministry has asked federal prosecutors to investigate the death of a polar bear that died after allegedly eating a firecracker placed in some food on a remote Arctic island.
The ministry announced its request for the investigation on December 23 after reviewing a Russian-language video showing the incident that sparked outrage after it was circulated on the Internet.
The brief video shows the bear apparently rolling on snow in what appears to be great pain.
The state-run news agency TASS quoted Andrei Klishas, a member of Russia's upper house of parliament, as saying that the incident appeared to have occurred on Wrangel Island, in the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska.
Klishas, who asked the Interior Ministry to investigate, said workers from a construction company called Rusalyans were suspected to be the culprits.
Rusalyans' website says the company is building facilities on Wrangel Island under contract for the Defense Ministry.
Polar bears are a protected species under Russian conservation laws.