Girl, 10, among five injured in second bear attack in Slovakia in just three days

Slovakia has been hit by several bear attacks in the last few years after introducing environmental measures to bring the animal back to the Carpathian mountains

Tom Watling
Monday 18 March 2024 17:55 GMT
Slovakia’s brown bear population has grown since environmental measures were introduced in the late 1980s
Slovakia’s brown bear population has grown since environmental measures were introduced in the late 1980s (Getty )

A 10-year-old girl is among five people injured in the second bear attack in Slovakia in just three days, authorities have said.

A state of emergency has been declared in Liptovsky Mikulas, near the Tatra mountains in northern Slovakia, after footage showed a large brown bear attacking residents.

It is the second attack in just three days after a 31-year-old Belarussian woman, identified as Tatiana, was found dead following another brown bear sighting nearby.

Among the injured in the latest attack are a 49-year-old woman, who was being treated in hospital for a shoulder injury, and a 72-year-old man who suffered a cut on his head.

A 10-year-old girl and two further adults suffered scratches and bruises, authorities said, while a couple pushing their child in a buggy were “lucky to escape unharmed”.

Residents have been asked not to leave their homes, particularly in the early and late hours, as animal hunters arrived at the town to seek out the bear.

“The bear has been pushed into uninhabited zones by rescue and security forces where emergency teams … have orders to eliminate it,” the town hall said.

“Hunters will patrol in the at-risk area, police patrols have been strengthened and brown bear emergency teams from all over the country have been ordered to our city and surroundings. A thermal imaging drone is also being deployed.

“We are a town between mountains, but still a town. We cannot allow a bear to attack five people in the centre in broad daylight.”

Footage has shown the bear charging through the streets of Liptovsky Mikulas, attacking multiple civilians as they rush to avoid contact with the animal.

The hunt comes just a few days after 31-year-old Tatiana was found dead in the Low Tatra mountain range near Liptovsky Mikulas, having encountered a brown bear while she was walking with a 29-year-old male companion.

The pair split and ran in opposite directions after encountering the bear. Rescue teams with dogs and drones then mounted a search after being alerted by the man, who was located “scared but unhurt” at the top of a steep ravine.

The woman’s body was later found at the bottom.

Slovakian authorities suggested on Monday their initial investigation had shown the woman died as a result of her fall, as opposed to having been mauled by the bear.

Brown bears have returned to their natural habitats across the Carpathian mountains, which stretch from Romania, through western Ukraine, to Slovakia and Poland, following improved environmental protection measures introduced in the late 1980s. There is now an estimated domestic population in Slovakia of 1,275 bears.

But this has led to several bear attacks in recent years in the country, including Slovakia’s first fatal assault in more than a century in 2021, when a 57-year-old man was found in the central Bansko valley with his hip, neck and hand mauled, and recent bear prints nearby.

Members of Slovakia’s government have called for the bear’s endangered species status to be relaxed so that they can be culled and hunted.

On Sunday, the junior environment minister, Filip Kuffa, outlined a draft law to allow bears to be shot outside urban areas under certain conditions. Along with Romania, the Slovakian ministry aims to propose a reclassification of the species at the European Union level.

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