Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Russian shepherd, 80, survives fight with bear, gets tossed off cliff

Do bears play with their food? Unknown, but Russian bear experts are saying the the scrappy shepherd who says he survived a bear attack last week, was merely the object of a wild bear’s attempts at play.

Yusuf Alchagirov, 80, a shepherd in the Russian region of Kabardino-Balkaria was approached by a Russian bear in a raspberry field at the end of October 2013. Deceptively feisty despite his advanced age, Alchagirov put up a great struggle when the bear started to attack. He let off a hail of kicks and headbutts that were enough to reportedly throw the bear off balance.

Thwarted, animal ended the incident by picking up the scrappy Alchagirov and tossing him over the edge of a cliff before turning and rambling away.

The shepherd sustained bites, bruises and four broken ribs in the encounter, but was able to get to a hospital where his family celebrated his survival by bringing him three homemade pies traditional to the region.

Alchagirov  told the press, ”I got off easy. It would have killed me if I’d chickened out.” Authorities seem to agree that Alchagirov got off a little too easily. They reportedly think the bear was just playing with the shepherd, and have decided not to hunt the animal down.

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