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Slovakia says bear that wounded 5 shot dead

March 27, 2024

The bear had bit and scratched people in Slovakia, with one individual almost losing an eye. The Slovakian government wants to implement safety zones near towns and villages as a means to prevent future bear attacks.

A symbol picture of a bear in Slovakia
Brown bears inhabit the mountains of central and north SlovakiaImage: Milan Kapusta/tasr/dpa/picture alliance

Slovakia's government on Wednesday said a bear that wounded five people in the country earlier this month was shot dead.

Dangerous bear was identified by biometric drone

Slovakian Environment Minister Tomas Taraba announced on Facebook that the animal had been killed on Tuesday evening. 

"A biometrics drone was used to identify it," Taraba said.

The bear attack occurred in the center of Liptovsky Mikulas, a town nestled in the foothills of the Tatra mountains near popular ski resorts.

The victims between ages of 10 and 72, suffered bites and scratches, and one of them almost lost an eye, it was reported at the time. Five of the injured people were all able to return home after a short time in the hospital.

The incident intensified earlier calls from sections of the local community and hunters for the bear population to be regulated by culling.

On Wednesday, the government in Bratislava approved a draft law to address the bear attacks in urban areas. The proposal stipulates the creation of a 500-meter (1640-foot) safety zone in the vicinity of towns and villages. 

"Any bear entering this zone could be shot," Taraba told journalists.

Bears have repeatedly made headlines in  Slovakia since last year due to a slew of brutal attacks on humans.

How many wild bears are living in Slovakia?

According to studies carried out by the Slovakian conservation organization SOPSR in collaboration with scientists from Charles University in Prague, there are between 1,100 and 1,200 bears living in the wild in Slovakia. 

Battling bear attacks in Romania

While this is not a concern for Slovakia alone, other European countries have experienced such attacks last year, reigniting debates on conflicts between humans and wild animals.  

Last year, for example, a female bear attacked and killed a jogger in Italy's northern Trentino region

ssa/wd (AFP, DPA)