Shocking pictures have emerged which show a bear being chained to a tree in eastern Russia and attacked by a pack of dogs as part of a baiting competition to find the best hunting dog.
The contest, held in the forests of the diamond-rich Sakha Republic in Yakutsk, is traditionally used as a way to recognize the best canine bear hunter.
Attacks by brown bears on humans are a constant danger in remote parts of Russia, especially at this time of the year, as they awake hungry after the long winter hibernation. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. The picture shows a young bear chained to a tree while several dogs undergo “hunting training” with the animal.
2. Masha, a five-year-old bear, can be seen attacked by a number of dogs as she is chained to the tree by her neck.
Many bears are killed when they encroach into residential areas looking for food, often with dogs specially trained to stalk the bears in order for hunters to shoot them.
However, the images of the five-year-old chained up bear being attacked and bitten are certain to anger animal rights activists in the West.
In Russia, however, hunting of various kinds is a respected and mainstream activity and contests such as this one raise few eyebrows.
3. Once the dogs have found their way to Masha, they have to bark as loudly as they can with their barking scored out of 100 points.
4. Masha the bear growls at one of the dogs she faces during the cruel “hunting competition” near Yakutsk, eastern Russia.
The images were taken by photo-journalist Spiridon Sleptsov during a visit to the Bayanay Hunting Club, near Yakutsk. He captured competitors taking part in the 6th Republican contest to find the best hunting dog, as well as the best pairing of dogs, according to The Siberian Times.
The contest sees the dogs released about 330 ft away from the bear. They then have to rely on scents and traces of the animal to locate it within two minutes.
Once the canines have found the target chained to the tree, they have to bark as loudly, and as threateningly, as they can with their barking scored out of 100 points.
The more fearsome the canine harassment and the greater the number of bites on the bear, the higher the score for the dog.
5. The “sporting event” sees the dogs released some 330ft away from Masha and they have to rely on scents and traces of the bear to find it within two minutes.
6. The dog owners said Masha has been used in the “hunting contests” for a number of years, even claiming she enjoys them and has grown to understand the dogs.
Mr. Sleptsov said:
Ideally after bursting into a loud bark the dog must attack the beast from behind, constantly twisting it around, thereby keeping the bear in one place and giving the hunter an idea of where to go. Rating the work in pairs took into account the coherence and mutual assistance between them.
If only one of the dogs attacked the bear actively, the score was reduced and if the second dog did not pay attention to bear at all, the pair was disqualified.
The dogs also have to show how well they can prevent a bear from running away, replicating what would occur in the wild if they were waiting for a hunter to come and kill it.
7. The pictures were taken by photo-journalist Spiridon Sleptsov during a visit to the Bayanay Hunting Club, near Yakutsk.
8. The dogs’ owners stand ready to leash their animals after they have had their go at “hunting” Masha.
The photographer said:
It was rather hard to calm the over-heated dogs.
Seeing that their owner was approaching, the dog began to bark at the beast with renewed energy and it took a lot of effort to pull them back from the bear.
Unusually warm weather across Russia has awakened bears early from hibernation, with warnings that they could attack people as they forage for food.
9. The young bear reaches out in an attempt to get hold of a white dog.
10. Masha the bear appears to have decided to take a time out from the fighting, seemingly lying down on her back.
A number of bear sightings has been made in parts of Siberia and the Far East in recent weeks, much earlier than usual. In the southern Siberian region of Tuva, home to about 3,500 bears, two men have been savagely attacked, suffering serious head and arm injuries, with one of them losing an eye.
It is believed that the dogs taking part in the contest in Yakutsk were not experienced hunting animals, but were rather only there for “sporting purposes”.
The bear, called Masha, has been used in the contests for several years, with claims that she enjoys them and has grown to understand the dogs. Mr. Sleptsov said:
To aggressive dogs capable of painful bite, Masha’s attitude was different.
Despite her apparent slowness, her attacks, like any wild animal, were extremely sharp and unexpected. To be fair, it should be noted that in all the years of holding such events, no dog has been injured by her paws and teeth.
11. A FOUR PAWS secret mission rescues a baiting bear (related).
Source: The Siberian Times.
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