A Russian man looking like a living corpse has been rescued from a bear den after the animal broke his back and left him there for a month.
The man, identified only as Alexander, was discovered by hunting dogs in Russia’s remote Tuva region, close to the border with Mongolia.
Initially the hunters thought the body had been mummified by the dry air but soon realised that the man was still alive.
Shocking video shows how Alexander’s face and body were encrusted with dried blood and dirt, his was skin a deathly white colour, and his dull eyes were barely able to open.
A Russian man, who only gave his named as Alexander, was found alive inside a brown bear den in eastern Russia along the border with Mongolia
Alexander said a brown bear broke his back then dragged him into its den to save for later, leaving him for a month – during which he survived by drinking urine
At one point medics speaking Russian – rather than the local Tuvan language – ask him his name, prompting him to open his eyes and reply ‘Alexander’.
How brown bears hide their prey
The brown bear is one of the world’s most common bear species and is found across a wide range, stretching from central and eastern Europe right across Russia and into Alaska, Canada, and parts of North America.
The bears will hunt and eat almost anything that carries a scent, feeding on leaves, fruit, roots, fish and other land animals which they hunt themselves or find as carrion.
Bears have been known to bury their prey for later consumption, which researcher theorise is to hide it from other predators and to allow it to decompose, making it easier to eat.
Brown bear dens are used primarily for hibernation, with the animals either building one by digging out vast quantities of earth or else making use of natural caves.
For a time they were not considered true hibernators, since their body temperature only drops slightly during the winter periods. It is thought this is so they can react quickly to threats, unlike other species such as chipmunks which require time to warm up before they can move properly.
Medics say he can move his arms, barely open his eyes, and speak – but is otherwise immobile and exhausted.
It is not clear exactly when Alexander was found, but he has told doctors the attack happened roughly a month ago.
Brown bears have been known to partially or completely bury animals they kill or carrion they find, sometimes waiting for days or weeks before returning to it.
Ivan V. Seryodkin, of the Russian academy of sciences, has theorised that they do this to keep prey hidden from other scavengers while the meat decomposes and becomes ‘ripe’, making it easier for them to eat.
Alexander said that his drank his own urine to stay alive while fearing that the bear could come back at any moment to finish him off.
Doctors said it was a ‘miracle’ that he wasn’t killed, and admit that they aren’t sure how he was able to survive for so long.
He was only discovered after a group of hunters passed the cave and their dogs ran inside before refusing to move on.
The hunters checked inside the lair and saw what they believed was a human mummy – until they released Alexander was alive.
Medics say Alexander is covered with injuries and that his flesh is rotting after being left for so long. Hunter initially thought the body was mummified, before discovering he was alive
Local reports said that the man remembers his first name but not his surname or age.
A hospital video shows the bearded man opening his blue eyes and confirming his first name.
He was described as having ‘severe injuries and rotting tissue’ from lying motionless for so long in the den.
‘Local medics say they cannot explain how the man survived such injuries,’ said the report.
The exact location where he was found has not been revealed, nor the name of the hospital where he was treated.
He was spoken to by medical staff in Russian rather than the local Tuvan language.
The shocking story has drawn comparisons to Leonardo Di Caprio’s Oscar-winning role in the Revenant, where his character survives a brutal bear attack.
The Tuva region is favoured by Vladimir Putin for vacations.
Alexander said that the large animal had overpowered him and saved him as food for later
Alexander suffered a broken spine in a fight with the bear with doctors stunned that he was still alive
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