‘Wrong bear’ claims in Slovakia

'Wrong bear' claims in Slovakia

LIPTOVSKY MIKULAS: Locals panicked when bear rampaged through town Photo credit: CC/Pudelek

On March 17, a bear ran amok in the Slovakian town of Liptovsy Mikulas and injured five people  including a girl of 10.

The coalition government headed by the Smer-SSD party’s Robert Fico immediately issued orders to shoot the bear and on March 27, Environment minister Tomas Taraba announced that it had been killed the previous day.

“A biometric drone was used to identify it,” Taraba said.

On March 28, opposition MPs claimed that the dead bear was smaller than the 100-kilo animal that had terrorised the local population and mauled two people who later needed hospital treatment.

Michal Weizik, a member of the Progressive Slovakia party disagreed.

A written report from the team of marksmen who tracked and shot the bear, apparently went astray in Liptovsky Mikulas and the documents revealed that it was a female weighing 67 kilos.  They killed the wrong animal, Weizik insisted.

He called on Taraba for further details of the method used to identify the bear before it was killed.

At last count there were believed to be approximately 1,300 wild bears living in Slovakia, the majority in the Carpathian mountains, and junior Environment minister Filip Kuffa maintained that currently there was an “unprecedented” number of bear attacks.

Environment ministry figures reveal that there were eight bear attacks in 2021 but by 2023 these had risen to 20.  A woman pursued by a bear in March 2024 died after falling from a cliff although her injuries were the result of the fall, not a bear attack.

Taraba said it was vitally important to find a way of dealing with the country’s bear population and criticised “extremist” environmentalist groups who called for their protection.

In reply, the ecologists rejected reports of an increasing number of bears.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.