Russia on Wednesday opened a criminal inquiry into the barbaric assault on a bear in Siberia, where a group of men took a video of themselves running over the animal with heavy duty trucks, The Guardian reported.
In what appeared to be a clip shot on a mobile phone, the men could be seen crushing the bear into the snow using off-road vehicles. They yell “smash him!” as they drive the truck repeatedly over the brown bear and poke the animal with a metal rod when they find that it still alive and trying to move.
Investigators said the men were workers of a mining company and residents of Russia’s Yakutia region. Authorities will be looking into whether the men killed the bear through sadistic treatment. The offence can earn them a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
The video, which had been taken down since, sparked outrage after it was picked up by Russian press and went viral on social media. Russian Minister for Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi wrote on Facebook: “There should be real jail time for this sort of crime! We will make sure these villains get the most serious punishment.”
People in the oil and mining business in remote regions like the Siberian Arctic often encounter wildlife. In Russia, it is legal to kill bears that do not go into hibernation if they are found near towns and villages.