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Six raging bears attack crowds moments after being released from their cages into the wild


JOURNALISTS and police sprint for safety as a group of caged bears go on the attack moments after being released into the wild.

The chaotic scene was captured in these dramatic pictures of a wildlife conservation project in northern Iraq yesterday.

Terrified spectators run for cover as a bear goes on the attack

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Terrified spectators run for cover as a bear goes on the attackCredit: Reuters
A wildlife conservation project to release endangered bears into the wild descended into chaos

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A wildlife conservation project to release endangered bears into the wild descended into chaosCredit: Reuters

Six bears – some said to have been rescued from people’s homes – were taken from towns in the south to their new home in the Gara mountains.

Steel cages were lined up on a wall, surrounded by a bewildering crowd of cameramen, armed security personnel and others.

Moments after the cages were opened, the panicking bears charged towards a gaggle of spectators.

Terrified men were pictured running to escape the beasts as the release ceremony descended into chaos.

It is not clear if anyone was injured.

Six Syrian brown bears were released from cages in Iraq's Gara mountains

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Six Syrian brown bears were released from cages in Iraq’s Gara mountainsCredit: Reuters
A huge crowd of spectators watched inches away as they took their first steps to freedom

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A huge crowd of spectators watched inches away as they took their first steps to freedomCredit: Reuters
The captive bears were released from cages into their natural habitat

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The captive bears were released from cages into their natural habitatCredit: Reuters
Some apparently panicked and lunged at cameramen

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Some apparently panicked and lunged at cameramenCredit: Rex Features

The bears eventually wandered of into the snowy landscape near Duhok, in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq near the border with Turkey.

The American-Kurdish Association released the six Syrian brown bears as part of a scheme to save the near-extinct species from vanishing in its natural habitat.

The head of the organisation, Blend Prevkani, told Shafaq News agency: “The bears were brought from areas in southern Iraq.

“Some of them were bought, while the others were given to us by their owners.”

This was the third such release by organisation over the past few years.

In 2018, reporters were attacked by three bears after they were released in the same mountain range.

Mr Prevkani said at the time the bears probably panicked while surrounded by a large group of people including media crews.

Two journalists were injured on that occasion.

Some of the bears were reportedly rescued from people's homes

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Some of the bears were reportedly rescued from people’s homesCredit: Rex Features
A bewildering crowd of people watched as they emerged from their cages

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A bewildering crowd of people watched as they emerged from their cagesCredit: Reuters
One of the bears takes its first steps in the snowy mountains

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One of the bears takes its first steps in the snowy mountainsCredit: Rex Features
They eventually wandered off into the wilderness

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They eventually wandered off into the wildernessCredit: Reuters
Syrian brown bears were once widespread across the Middle East but are almost extinct in the wild

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Syrian brown bears were once widespread across the Middle East but are almost extinct in the wildCredit: Reuters
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