Woman dies after being chased by bear in Slovakia


A 31-year-old woman from Belarus has died after she was chased by a bear in the north of Slovakia, officials said.

The Slovak Mountain Rescue Service said the woman’s body had been recovered from the forest in Slovakia’s Low Tatras mountains on Friday evening.

She had been walking with a male companion when they were set upon by a bear.

According to the man, he and the woman fled in different directions. The area has thick forest and steep ravines.

Slovak authorities said the two were walking in Demänovská Valley when they were chased.

The woman’s body was discovered by a search dog shortly after her companion went for help.

The bear was still nearby, and was frightened off by the Mountain Rescue Service with warning shots from a gun.

It remains unclear how the woman died – whether she fell to her death or was killed by the bear.

The deputy environment minister said if it had been the latter the authorities would make that information public immediately and would not conceal it.

There have been a number of bear attacks in recent years including one fatal attack in 2021, reported to be the first in Slovakia for a century.

Members of Slovakia’s new populist nationalist government have spoken out against what they say is excessive EU environmental protection for predators such as wolves and bears, which have returned to Slovakia via the Carpathian mountains in the decades since the fall of Communism in 1989.

Bears are common across the Carpathian mountain range, stretching from Romania through western Ukraine on to Slovakia and Poland.

The Environment Ministry said that together with Romania it would present a proposal at the next EU Council of environment ministers to reclassify bears on the protected species list, as their numbers mean they are no longer endangered and can be selectively culled.

Researchers however say there has been no explosion in Slovakia’s estimated bear population, which they say remains stable at around 1,275.__BBC.com