6 bears ran amok and caused spectators to flee for their lives moments after being released into the wild

Ari Jalal/ReutersPeople run away as Kurdish animal rights activists release a bear into the wild after rescuing bears from captivity in people’s homes in Duhok, Iraq.
  • Kurdish animal rights activists released six Syrian brown bears into the wild in Duhok, Iraq.
  • Moments after their release, the bears reportedly panicked and lunged at onlookers.
  • It is not clear yet whether anyone was injured.
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Six Syrian brown bears ran amok in the mountains of Duhok, Iraq, after Kurdish animal rights activists released them from their cages, Reuters reported.

The bears were released into the wild as part of a special ceremony organised by the Kurdish American Cooperation Organisation, a local charity that has set rescued bears free on two other occasions, the news agency said.

Moments after the activists unlocked the cages, the ceremony descended into chaos. The unleashed bears panicked and lunged at onlookers, according to The Sun.

People were then forced to run for their lives, News.com.au reported.


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The bears, some of whom had been rescued from captivity in people’s homes, eventually left the spectators alone.

They walked off into the snowy mountains, near the Iraqi-Turkish border, The Sun reported. It is not clear yet whether anyone was injured, the paper added.

The bears were released as part of a scheme to save them from extinction, according to multiple reports.

Syrian brown bears are considered to be endangered subspecies, according to Bear Conservation. They are at risk of extinction in Iraq because of illegal hunting and captivity.

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