Iran villagers 'beat endangered brown bear to death, restrain with tractor': state media
A brown bear in Iran was killed after being beaten by local villagers near the town of Namin in northwestern Ardabil province, state news agency IRNA reported.
"The villagers restrained the animal," IRNA said on Sunday, adding they "resorted to inappropriate methods and behaviours by chasing, beating and injuring it."
A photograph published by IRNA shows the bear tied around its neck to a digging machine, while the heavy wheels of a farm tractor appears to have been used to pin the animal's back legs to the ground.
It said villagers used "tools such as a tractor" to restrain the bear, causing "serious damage to the animal" including breaking its leg and pelvis, and damaging its spine.
Brown bears, found mainly in forests in northern and western Iran, are classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of species at risk.
Bears are facing multiple threats in Iran, coming into conflict as farmers defend their crops and livestock, facing added pressure amid repeated droughts in recent years.
Environmental protection officers later arrived, taking the bear to a wildlife clinic, where it "succumbed to its injuries", according to IRNA.
Also on Sunday, a leopard was shot dead in the north of Iran after attacking and injuring a policeman in the city of Ghaemshahr.
Many wild animals, including wolves and foxes, have been seen in urban areas in Iran in recent weeks, according to Hamshahri, the daily newspaper of Tehran's municipality.
The newspaper notably reported the sighting of a bear in the southern town of Marvdasht and a wolf attack on two elderly women in Khalkhal, northwestern Iran.
As well as brown bears, Iran is also home to Asiatic black bears, also known as moon bears, and classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.