A Russian man was rescued from a bear den after he claims the animal broke his back and left him there for a month.
Shocking images and video have gone viral of the man, identified only as Alexander, who was discovered by hunting dogs in Russia’s remote Tuva region, Daily Mail reports. The hunters initially thought the body was mummified by the dry air but were stunned to discover Alexander was still alive.
The video shows Alexander’s face and body encrusted with dried blood, dirt — and rotting flesh. Russian medics are heard asking the man his name, prompting him to open his eyes and reply ‘Alexander’. According to reports, he currently has limited mobility.
Alexander said the bear attack occurred a month ago and he managed to stay alive inside the den by playing dead. He said that he drank his own urine to stay alive, fearing the bear wound come back at any moment and finish him off.
Brown bears are known to bury animals they kill, sometimes waiting days or weeks before returning to it. The popular belief is that they do this to keep prey hidden from other predators and scavengers while the meat decomposes and becomes ripe enough for them to feast upon.
Medics have described Alexander as having “severe injuries and rotting tissue” from lying motionless for so long in the den, and they find it baffling that he survived with such injuries.
He was only discovered after hunters passed the cave and their dogs ran inside, refusing to move on. When the men followed the dogs, they discovered Alexanders’ nearly mummified body.
It’s not yet confirmed how his recovery is going, but he is reportedly still receiving treatment in hospital.
This story was first reported by major Russian newspaper Izvestia and news agency EADaily. There’s debate raging online about whether the footage/story is all “fake news.”