Russian bears getting high off discarded aviation barrels

A bear finds an open barrel and sniffs the fumes. Photo: Igor Shpilenok
A bear finds an open barrel and sniffs the fumes. Photo: Igor Shpilenok/Barcroft Media

Bears in Russia are raising concerns after Igor Shpilenok tracked bears sniffing aviation fuel barrels and getting high.

The bears have been sniffing discarded fuel barrels, digging shallow holes and laying in them, in a nirvana-like state. Shpilenok observed these bears for seven months. Some bears were getting so addicted that they would stalk helicopters, wait for them to lift off and sniff the ground underneath for leaked fuel.

The barrels are discarded in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, in Eastern Russia, home to 700 brown bears and is a Unesco-protected World Heritage site. The workers attempt to recover the barrels to stop this happening, however, the reserve covers 225,000 hectares, and not every barrel is recovered. The fuel from the barrels are used by the nature reserve workers for helicopters and power generators.

(full story on the dailymail.co.uk)

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