A Russian man bit off the tongue of a bear who almost mauled him to death in a remote Siberian forest.
30-year-old Nikolay Irgit and his two friends were in a forest reserve in the Tuva region to collect deer and moose antlers when the attack took place, according to a Russia Today report.
The men had no permits for collecting the horns, used for medical purposes and making furniture, and often sold for a hefty price on the black market.
Irgit went alone deep into the forest, where a brown bear charged at him.
“Weighing up to 600kg, Siberian bears are ferocious creatures, capable of ripping an adult man apart. It is almost impossible to run away from their attacks,” according to the report.
The attack left Irgit with gruesome injuries in face, head, hands and stomach.
Right as the bear was snapping its jaws at his face, the man “managed to bite the bear’s tongue off, after which the bear was frightened and ran away,” a police report said.
A bloodied Irgit called his friends for help, who arrived on the spot and rushed him to the nearest village on a makeshift stretcher.
“When I saw the bear, at first I froze in horror. I didn’t have any weapons, not even a knife,” Irgit was quoted as saying.
“I began to scream, I thought it would not attack. But the bear charged towards me.
“I managed to punch him in the face, but he pounced and knocked me off my feet.”
A photo of Irgit shared by Russian media shows him lying on a hospital bed, with his head bandaged and face covered with stitches. Although Irgit survived the bear attack, he will now have to face an administrative case launched against him by police for illegal activities in the forest reserves.