Bear's fatal attack on man in Slovakia sparks population warningComments
Slovakian authorities have said that a 57-year-old man with deep wounds on his neck and face was likely killed in a rare bear attack.
The victim's body was found in a forest near the village of Liptovska Luzna, around 190 kilometres northeast of Bratislava.
"An autopsy confirmed today that the man died as a result of injuries caused by a bear," the state-run forestry enterprise, Lesy Slovenske Republiky, said in a statement.
Between 1,200 and 1,600 brown bears live in Slovakia, mainly in the mountainous regions of the country, and the animal's population has tripled in the last two decades.
"The brown bear is our largest beast, which holds its position in nature and undoubtedly belongs here in the 21st century," Lesy Slovenske Republiky added.
"At the same time, however, it should be noted that its abundance should be at such a level as to ensure the stability of the population, but also the mutual symbiosis of humans with bears."
Incidents involving humans are relatively rare, and the animals are protected by law in the EU member state.
"The attack of a bear on a human is unique," said Slovakia's environment ministry in a statement.
"There were only five such collisions in 2020. They are usually caused when the animals are approached unexpectedly and surprised."
"The circumstances of the current incident will therefore be the subject of an investigation."
The ministry has urged citizens to question the protection of the species following the incident and has warned hikers and tourists to take care in the forest.
Lesy Slovenske Republiky has called for the animals to be legally hunted to reduce their numbers in the region.