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Zoo Keeper Who Lost Her Leg to a Bear Begs That the Animal Be Pardoned

Wild animals usually get put down after attacking humans, but a Russian zoo keeper who lost one of her legs to a caged bear has been pleading with authorities to spare the animal, claiming that it wasn’t to blame for the tragic accident.

On September 25, experienced zoo keeper and animal activist Vera Blishch was instructing a new colleague at the Municipal Zoo in Ussuriysk when a bout of vertigo made her lean towards a bear cage for just a split second. Unfortunately, that was just enough time for Manyunya, a 20-year-old female bear, to reach through the bars and grab the zookeeper’s leg. She suffered severe injuries, including multiple fractures, and eventually needed to have her leg amputated below the knee at a Ussuriysk hospital. Knowing that animals that attack people are put down to eliminate the risk of them attacking other humans, Blishch’s first concern upon waking from her surgery anesthesia was for Manyunya’s well-being, insisting that the bear was not to blame.

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