Two Bears Shot After Climbing Onto Russian Nuclear Submarine

by Jennifer Shea

The Russian Navy shot dead two bears, a mother and her cub, who had climbed onto a nuclear submarine in Kamchatka, close to the village of Rybachiy.

The Navy claims its soldiers had no choice in the matter, the BBC reported. It said it called in a hunting instructor to “neutralize” the animals.

Bears in a Protected Area

The submarine was moored near the Vilyuchinsk base in the far eastern region when the incident occurred. A video of the encounter leaked out on November 8, but it’s not clear when the shooting happened. 

It’s also not known what type of bear they were. The far eastern brown bear is native to that area, however.

In the video, a male voice says the animals would have run to local villages had the Navy simply shooed them away. One of the bears is visible dropping into the water after the bullet hits. 

The Kamchatka peninsula hosts about 24,000 bears, the BBC reports. They are often spotted on local beaches.

Russian officials said the mother bear had put in appearances several times recently near the protected area, according to Defense World.

Outrage on Social Media

The video has been making the rounds on social media. It has provoked outrage from many social media users, who have posted comments like, “What the Hell Russia?” and “The whole essence of Russia in one video.”

In January of last year, a polar bear jumped onto a Russian nuclear submarine on a quest for food. The sailors reportedly received orders to stay below deck.

Also last year, more than 50 polar bears took over a village in the far north of Russia. Officials had to shut down all public activities and post guards at local schools, according to the BBC.

Conservationists have said melting coastal ice is increasingly driving the bears inland, toward human population centers, to search for food, rather than looking for it in the wild.