Russia shopping mall bear shot dead by police

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Media captionThe bear burst out of a shopping mall only to be shot dead by police

Police in Russia's far east have shot dead a wild bear that wandered around a closed shopping mall.

The bear entered the mall in Khabarovsk, near the Chinese border, on Tuesday night and barged out of a door.

Police then shot it dead in the playground of a school before a veterinary worker arrived.

Government investigators said (in Russian) that they have now opened an inquiry, after "numerous requests" to do so, into why the animal was killed.

Security camera footage showed the bear running through empty corridors before pushing two doors open to escape.

It was then shot dead by a camouflaged officer after running away from the mall.

"The police did what was simplest," Natalia Kovalenko, an animal rights activist was quoted as saying by the state-run website (in Russian).

"First they made it crazy by smoking it out of the mall. Then, when the animal came out and was defending itself out of fear, they shot it."

Tass, another state-run news agency, said bears were increasingly wandering into towns to seek food before they hibernate in November.

It said some 60 bears "posing a threat to humans" have been killed this year. Two people have been killed and four injured in bear attacks, it said.

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