A ZOOKEEPER famed for kissing bears has “lost her leg” after a brutal attack by a caged predator in Russia today.
The beast clawed Vera Blishch with its paw before sinking its teeth into her leg.
The experienced keeper later had her lower leg amputated because it was so badly mangled, according to reports in eastern Russia.
The victim, known for kissing a bear at her zoo in Ussuriysk, had been training a new employee when the beast turned on her.
She had earlier said about getting up close and personal with a bear: “It is very dangerous to do this.
“A bear is the most dangerous predator on earth.”
The keeper is well known for a campaign to save animals hit by severe flooding in the Russian Far East in 2015.
She stood neck-deep in flood water to save caged animals.
Even by just kissing the bear now I might lose my head within a split second
Zookeeper Vera Blishch, before she was attacked by a bear
It was not immediately clear if the predator that attacked her was one she had saved four years ago.
Paramedic Alexander Fedeykin said: “A zoo employee was instructing a new member of staff and came close to the cage.
“The bear struck her with its paw, leading to an open fracture and her skin torn off.”
Later reports said doctors were forced to amputate her leg, said The Siberian Times.
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The keeper demonstrated how she kissed a bear in 2015 when the municipal zoo opened in Ussuriysk — even though she admitted it was “very dangerous”.
Mrs Blishch said: “Bears are trained almost nowhere except for Russia.
“Even by just kissing the bear now I might lose my head within a split second.
“To work with a bear, you must have a special feeling.
“We say it’s a feeling sent by God.
“You must feel a bear.”
The accident was half an hour before the zoo opened.
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