Endangered Brown Bear Beaten to Death After Being Restrained With a Tractor

A brown bear was pinned to the ground under a tractor wheel and beaten to death after it wandered into a village in northwest Iran on Sunday.

Authorities have arrested a man in connection with what a local prosecutor called a "horrible" act.

The brown bear—a species on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is considered endangered in Iran—suffered a broken leg and pelvis and damage to its spine when residents of Kenazaq, in Ardabil province, pursued, hit and eventually pinned it down with a tractor.

A photo from the scene showed the bear pinned to the ground with the tractor and restrained further with its neck tied to an earth mover, per the BBC.

State news agency IRNA reported: "The villagers restrained the animal, [and] resorted to inappropriate methods and behaviors by chasing, beating and injuring it."

The news agency added that the residents of Kenazaq used "tools such as a tractor" to restrain the bear, causing "serious damage to the animal"—breaking its leg, and pelvis and damaging its spine.

The bear was taken to a wildlife clinic by environmental protection officers where it reportedly died as a result of its injuries.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) lists some of the threats to bears amid human expansion into bears' natural habitat, as well as instances where brown bears are considered nuisances.

It adds that activities like logging, mining, road construction and other development, and human attempts to prevent the animals from interfering with livestock, crops, water supplies and garbage bins, all impact the brown bear population.

The brown bear in Iran is distributed across the northern and western regions of the country, mainly in the Alborz and Zagros Mountains.

Per Giraffa, despite the large size of these animals, which can grow up to around 10 feet long and stand as tall as 5 feet weighing up to around 440 pounds, Iranian authorities have had difficulty estimating population numbers.

A 2018 study published in Biological Conservation found that rangers working in Iran's Arasbaran Biosphere Reserve overestimated the area's bear abundance by as much as a factor of 3 to 5 in comparison with scientific analysis, like the DNA sampling of bear scat.

The more scientific approach found populations as low as 40 in comparison with estimates of 122 to 199 animals made by rangers.

Ehsan Moqanaki, the paper's lead author and ecologist with the Iranian Cheetah Society, told NRDC: "There is no state-run monitoring of large carnivores, such as brown bears, in the Iranian protected areas.

"Thus, the local wildlife authority relies on the experiential knowledge of rangers as the only available source of information in the decision-making process."

NRDC added that interactions with bears and attacks on livestock have left locals with a less than sympathetic attitude towards the bears. Moqanaki said: "The majority of locals I interrogated supported culling of the local bear population."

Brown Bear
Stock image of a brown bear. An Iranian man has been jailed after beating an endangered brown bear to death on Sunday. Lara_Uhryn/GETTY