An 80-year-old Russian man was attacked by a bear while herding sheep and
made the risky decision to fight back, the Guardian’s Shaun Walker reports.
The irritated bear tossed him off a cliff, but ultimately the octogenarian’s feels his decision to fight rather than flee paid off — he survived.
According to the report, the shepherd, Yusuf Alchigarov, was herding his flock of sheep in a raspberry field near Elbrus, a small village in southern Russia when he happened upon a massive bear hiding behind a tree.
“It was huge. His head was an enormous watermelon,” Alchigarov told Russia media this week. “I had nowhere to go. I ran away but he caught up with me. I had a jacket in my hands which I threw over the bear as a muzzle. I began to fight back with a knife. The bear grabbed me by the arm and bit and I, in turn, grabbed his lower jaw, so he couldn’t bite me again.”
When the bear picked up the man and beat him on the ground, Alchigarov struck a heavy blow on the bear’s nose, which is a defence technique commonly known to shepherds, according to Alchigarov.
‘The bear’s nose is very sensitive and, if you whack it on the nose, it pretty soon loses interest in trying to make you into a meal,” said Alchigarov, according to the UK Metro. The bear then threw him off a nearby cliff.
“I flew like a chip. I don’t remember anything else,” Alchigarov told reporters.
When Alchigarov didn’t return from sheep-herding, relatives and neighbours began to search for him. He woke up seven hours later, found the villagers that were searching for him, and was taken to the hospital.
Despite the vicious attack, Alchigarov appears to be more or less ok. He has four broken ribs, deep bite wounds, and many bruises. He was released from the hospital after a few days and has now been resting at home.
Alchigarov is unequivocal about why he survived the attack. “If I had chickened out and not fought [the bear], the animal would have immediately torn me apart and I would not be sitting with you,” Alchigarov said.
It looks like Alchigarov made the right move. According to Mountain Nature, an online field guide, if a bear attacks you, the best move is to “fight back with anything that is available to you.”
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