Europe

Couple rescued in Russia from borsch-eating bear

Bear cubs at a rescue centre in central Russia (file photo)
Image caption Growing bears have big appetites to satisfy

Police in the Siberian region of Irkutsk have rescued a couple after a bear broke into their holiday home, attracted by the smell of fresh soup.

A patrol turned up at their dacha near Ust-Ilimsk in the early hours after a neighbour raised the alarm.

They found the couple hiding in their bath-house as the bear digested the hot beetroot soup in their garden.

A warning shot was sufficient to scare off the intruder. No-one was hurt, although there was damage to the house.

According to a police statement, the couple said they had left the soup to cool when they went to bed.

Because of decorating work inside the dacha, they were sleeping out in the bath-house, when they woke to "loud banging".

Image caption The police department in Irkutsk released photos of the dacha attacked by the bear.
Image caption The bear smashed windows before climbing into the house.
Image caption It pulled over furniture while exploring the house.
Image caption Traces of the bright red soup could be seen on the cooker.
Image caption Police took "claw prints", so to speak.

Peering out, they saw a bear breaking the windows of their glassed-in porch. It then hauled itself inside and devoured "all of the borsch, which was still hot".

After receiving the alert at 01:00 (16:00 GMT Friday), police sent a patrol to the scene. Officers found the bear padding around the snowy garden and fired a shot into the air.

"Startled, the unwelcome guest bounded off into the forest," the police statement said.

Bears, it noted, had been known to come looking for food around dachas in the area before but happily no attacks had been reported.

While splashes of the bright red soup were found at the scene, it could not be immediately confirmed whether the bear had indeed not used a spoon.

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