After wandering into a town in northwest Iran on Sunday, a brown bear was trapped to the ground under a tractor tyre and beaten to death.
Authorities have arrested a guy in connection with a “terrible” incident, according to a local prosecutor.
Residents of Kenazaq, Ardabil province, pursued, hit, and eventually pinned down a brown bear, which is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List and is considered endangered in Iran. The brown bear suffered a broken leg and pelvis, as well as damage to its spine.
A snap from the incident shows the bear pinned to the ground with the tractor and further restrained with its neck tethered to an earth mover.
State news agency IRNA reported: “The villagers restrained the animal, [and] resorted to inappropriate methods and behaviors by chasing, beating and injuring it.”
Residents of Kenazaq used “tools such as a tractor” to restrain the bear, causing “serious damage to the animal”— by breaking its leg, pelvis, and spine, according to the news agency.
Environmental protection officers reportedly took the bear to a wildlife clinic, where it died as a result of its injuries.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) highlights some of the hazards to bears that have arisen as a result of human expansion into bears’ natural habitat, as well as cases where brown bears have been deemed a nuisance.
The brown bear population is impacted by activities such as logging, mining, road construction, and other development, as well as human attempts to keep the animals from interfering with cattle, crops, water supplies, and rubbish bins.
The brown bear can be found in Iran’s northern and western regions, particularly in the Alborz and Zagros Mountains.
Despite the massive size of these animals, which can grow up to 10 feet long, 5 feet tall, and weigh up to 440 pounds, Iranian authorities have had difficulties gauging population numbers, according to Giraffa.
Rangers operating in Iran’s Arasbaran Biosphere Reserve overestimated the area’s bear abundance by as much as a ratio of 3 to 5 when compared to scientific analyses, such as bear scat DNA sampling, according to a 2018 study published in Biological Conservation.
The more scientific approach discovered populations as low as 40 animals, compared to ranger estimates of 122 to 199 animals.
“There is no state-run monitoring of large carnivores, such as brown bears, in the Iranian protected areas.” Ehsan Moqanaki, the paper’s lead author and an ecologist with the Iranian Cheetah Society, told NRDC.
“Thus, the local wildlife authority relies on the experiential knowledge of rangers as the only available source of information in the decision-making process.”