In a hand to paw combat between an 80-year-old shepherd and a hungry Russian bear, all bets would be on the bear as the victor. But octogenarian Yusuf Alchagirov beat the odds and managed to survive the attack.
While Alchagirov was in a raspberry field in the southern Russian region of Kabardino-Balkaria last week, a bear confronted him. In the rumble, the animal placed him in a bear hug and lifted him off the ground. Although old in age, Alchagirov showed elderly spunk and proceeded to kick and head butt the bear, eventually throwing it off balance. Regaining composure, the bear struck back, knocking Alchagirov off a nearby cliff before ambling off.
Unbeknownst to the bear, Alchagirov survived the fall. Although hospitalized with bruises, bite wounds and a four broken ribs, his injuries could have been far worse and he was released a few days later.
In an interview with a local Russian television station, Alchagirov said, “I got off easy. It would have killed me if I’d chickened out and tried to run.”
“The bear’s nose is very sensitive and if you whack it on the nose, it pretty soon loses interest in trying to make you into a meal.”
The elder is now recovering at home, feasting on homemade pies his family baked to celebrate his survival.
According to experts, bears usually only attack humans if they’re provoked or hungry. It’s reported that floods destroyed much of the bears’ natural food sources, so they started moving closer to villages to scavenge. In some cases, brazen bears broke into houses and cleaned out fridges.
Locals will not be hunting the bear that attacked Alchagirov, however, as it’s believed he was only playing with the elder.
It’s unknown if the bear sustained any injuries—other than, of course, the bruised ego of losing a match to an octogenarian.