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Schoolboy, 11, was killed by two brown bears in Russia

A schoolboy was savaged to death by two brown bears after the beasts dragged him inside their cage in Russian resort Sochi.

Nikita, 11, was thrown around ‘like a ball’ by the raging predators, say reports.

The boy had been ‘showing off’ his ‘bravery’ in front of two girls and aimed to pose for a photo up close to the wild animals.

The girls – around the same age as the victim – watched in horror as the bears clawed and bit their helpless friend, hurling him around their cage.

They screamed for assistance and called their parents but by the time help arrived, it was too late to save the ‘very smart and nice boy’.

Staff at the guest house shot both predators dead so that the boy’s motionless and bloody body could be retrieved.

An ambulance crew confirmed his death.

Psychologists are now working with the traumatised girls. 

The bears’ outer cage gate had been left ‘unlocked’ at a guest house’s mini-zoo in the Dagomys district of the sprawling Black Sea resort.

Nikita went in but then was pulled inside the inner cage via a hole dug by the bears under the bars, it was reported.  

Eyewitnesses claimed the boy had been ‘provoking the bears’, slapping their paws.

A resident told Vesti Kuban: ‘He opened the gate, went in, wanting to take a picture….

‘He slapped the bears’ paws to show how cool he was.

‘A hole had been dug under the cage and they just pulled the boy through this.

‘They were tossing him around like a ball. 

‘He was all broken.’

A criminal case has been opened into ‘causing death by negligence’ against the guest house owners, said the Russian Investigative Committee.

Sochi mayor Alexey Kopaygorodsky reacted by banning all mini-zoos in the resort.

‘All such mini-zoos, cages and aviaries must be closed,’ he said.

‘They cannot ensure the safety of our children.’

His great-aunt Evgenia Mikhailova, 57, told Sochi24 TV: ‘It is so scary what has happened.

‘And what a boy he was.’

His great-uncle Vladimir Mikhailov said: ‘He was with two girl friends, one of them a bit older…

‘I think that he wanted to show off in front of the girls…

‘There is a double cage and people throw food into the space between two cages.

‘He went into this space and the bears got him…’

School psychologist Tamara Dolotkazina, who knew Nikita, said: ‘He was a very good, intelligent boy.

‘I am just shocked by some people saying that the deceased is to blame … not knowing all the details.

‘God is the judge of such people, my condolences to his parents.

‘I knew him well, I had been working as a psychologist in his school.

‘He was a very smart, nice boy. It is a terrible tragedy.’

The bears had been caged at the guest house after they were found as orphaned cubs by rangers.

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