Watch: Brown Bear Terrorizes Slovak Village, Attacks 5 People

Slovakia’s brown bears are getting some attention from around the world after a brutal weekend of attacks that left one person dead, at least two hospitalized, and several townspeople still reeling. A series of videos shared to Facebook on Sunday shows one of these brown bears causing chaos in a village as it runs down the street chasing people. The videos were recorded just two days after a Belarusian woman died while running from a brown bear in the nearby mountains.

The three videos posted to Facebook yesterday morning were shared by Marika Trnková Bizubová, a Slovak dog breeder whose profile is filled with photographs of working Weimaraners. The videos, which she has since taken down or hidden from the public, show several different angles of a brown bear running amok in Liptovský Mikuláš, a small village near the Low Tatras Mountains in northern Slovakia (a European country sandwiched between Hungary and Poland). As the bear runs down the street at full speed, people flee in all directions, some climbing fences as they try to get out of its way. In one of the videos, the bear lunges and swipes at a man on the sidewalk.

Bear in the center of Liptovský Mikuláš #ThisIsSlovakia

: Marika Trnkova Bizubova / Facebook #medved #bear #medvednica #medveď #slovensko #slovakia #liptovskymikulas #danger #wildlife #animal #bears

— This Is Slovakia (@ThisIsSlovakia_) March 17, 2024

One of Bizubová’s videos was reshared on Twitter.

“According to preliminary information, 5 people were injured (a 10-year-old girl, a 32-year-old man, a 49-year-old woman, a 58-year-old-woman, and a 72-year-old man),” Bizubová wrote in a translated version of the Facebook post that accompanied the videos.

The town’s spokesperson Viktoria Capcikova confirmed with the Agence France-Presse that these numbers were accurate. She said the oldest victim, a 72-year-old man, was still being treated in the hospital.

The bear ran down the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to climb the fence in an attempt to get away. Photograph via Facebook

“The bear spent about 20 minutes in the town centre, attacked five people and retreated into the woods,” Capcikova said. She added that multiple patrols made up of hunters and police officers were trying to locate the bear. On Monday, she and other authorities warned residents not to venture too far outside their homes as the bear was still on the loose.

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The incident was even more disquieting to local villagers because two days prior, Slovakia recorded its first fatal brown bear attack since 2021. That attack took place in the nearby Low Tatras Mountains, according to BBC News, which spoke with the Slovak Mountain Rescue Service about the incident.

Rescuers reported that the 31-year-old woman from Belarus was hiking with a male companion on a trail in the Demänovská Valley Friday evening when the bear confronted them. The two hikers then fled in different directions, and the man was able to run for help and alert the authorities. It’s unclear whether the woman fell to her death or was killed by the bear, according to BBC, but her body was found by search dogs soon after. Rescuers reportedly fired warning shots at the bear, which was still nearby at the time.

The back-to-back incidents highlight the growing controversy around how brown bears are managed in Europe. Although they remain a protected species in most European countries, many Slovak politicians, including the current president, have called for the removal of these protections as brown bear populations (and conflicts between bears and humans) continue to grow throughout the Carpathian Mountains. On Friday, the Slovak environment ministry announced that along with Romania, it would be submitting a proposal for the E.U. to reclassify the species.

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Researchers estimate there are currently between 1,000 and 1,300 brown bears living in Slovakia. A separate 2018 study published in Norway counted a total of 54 bear attacks there between 2000 and 2016. Five years later, in 2021, the country recorded its first fatal bear attack in more than a century when a 57-year-old man was found dead after being mauled by a brown bear near the village of Liptovska Luzna. That village lies less than 30 miles away from Liptovský Mikuláš.

“There will still be people who will claim that this is normal,” Bizubová wrote in her Facebook post, speaking to this recent controversy over delisting brown bears. “So that people in the villages and towns of Liptov are afraid to go for a walk with their children and live in enclosures!!”

The post Watch: Brown Bear Terrorizes Slovak Village, Attacks 5 People appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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