A pack of enormous bears searching for food killed and ate two men at mines in Russia's Pacific Kamchatka region and have kept hundreds of geologists and miners from reaching the mine, news agencies reported Wednesday.
Up to 30 Kamchatka bears, which are similar to grizzlies, prowled around two mines belonging to a local platinum mining company before eating the two guards last Thursday, local officials were quoted by the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency as saying.
About 400 company workers have refused to return to the mines for fear of the bears, which stand 10 feet tall on their hind legs and weigh up to 1,500 pounds, Interfax reported.
About 10 bears have also been seen near the village of Khailino sniffing fish remains and other garbage.
Village official Viktor Leushkin was quoted by ITAR-Tass as saying that a team of hunters will be dispatched to shoot or chase off the bears.
"These predators have to be destroyed," Leushkin was quoted as saying. "Once they kill a human, they will do it again and again."
Rampant fish poaching in the Kamchatka tundra often forces the bears to seek other sources of food, such as garbage. Bears frequently attack humans in the scarcely populated peninsula region.