A 50-year-old Russian reindeer herder was seriously injured after a polar bear viciously attacked him in the Bolshoy Lyakhovsky island in the Arctic.

Vladimir Sleptsov had gone to check on a camp used by herders when the mother polar bear and her two cubs emerged from a wooden hut used as a steam sauna. The mother bear lunged at him and began viciously attacking him. Sleptsov immediately played dead after which the three bears left the scene.

"First I saw a destroyed house at the camp used to store food. The food was scattered all over the place by the bears. Suddenly a huge bear with two cubs, born last year, judging by their size, jumped out of the sauna door and stood right next to me," Daily Mail quoted Sleptsov, as saying.

The man, who was seriously injured, managed to call his family members. Paramedics rushed to the scene and he was airlifted to a nearby hospital. The man suffered serious injuries to his head, leg, and arm and also had deep facial wounds. He, however, remained in stable condition and was being treated at the hospital.

Meanwhile, local authorities are planning to search for the bear in order to kill it.

"Polar bears are protected in the Red Book, but this man-eater should be found…and shot. If you don't, a future sacrifice is inevitable," President of Kyymaan Hunting Club, Alexander Tastygin said, the outlet reported.

The incident comes months after a man was killed by a polar bear in Norway's Arctic Spitsbergen island. The animal attacked 38-year-old Johan Jacobus Kootte while he was in his tent. He succumbed to injuries shortly after he was attacked. The bear was later shot dead. Experts had told BBC that the melting Arctic ice sheet has reduced their hunting grounds due to which they are forced to move into populated areas to find food.

PolarBear A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska in a March 6, 2007, handout photo. Photo: Susanne Miller/US Fish and Wildlife Service/Handout via REUTERS