Moscow: Bears waking up after winter hibernation in Tomsk in Siberia are better behaved this year than last year, a wildlife official said Friday.
"Compared to this time in previous years, things are somehow calmer now, there were times when about a dozen bears had to be shot between the end of April and beginning of May," said Konstantin Osadchy, head of the nature protection committee in Tomsk.
At this time of year, Russian bears wake up from winter hibernation hungry, and often head to areas of human habitation in search of food.
They are usually only shot after forest rangers or other officials deem they pose a danger to the human population, or livestock.
The bear population in the area is growing. In 2011, there were about 8,800 bears in Tomsk, whereas in 1997 the bear population was just 2,800.
So far, there has been only one incident in which a bear in Tomsk had to shot, Osadchy said.
In 2012, a total of 33 "hooligan" bears, as they are dubbed in the Russian media, had to be shot.
In 2011, this figure was higher still, at about 50.
In Russia`s far east, bears have recently been sighted digging up corpses in a cemetery, and begging for food from passing cars along a highway.