Slovakia looks to counter rise in bear attacks with new shooting law

There have been 10 bear attacks resulting in injury across Slovakia so far this year

By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

A bill to eradicate problem bears has been approved by the Slovak government, but it will not stop the predators.

Last year, a total of 14 brown bears attacked humans in the country, and more than 10 such attacks have occurred in the four months so far this year, not including two just recorded in recent days.

In the latest incident on Sunday, a bear attacked a volunteer firefighter walking on a marked trail near the village of Gerebes in the district of Kysucaújhely while he was hunting. The bear bit the man on his thigh and his wife took him to the hospital. A few days earlier, a brown bear attacked a fisherman near Banska Bistrica. The incident, which happened on Thursday afternoon, was reported by the Slovak Anglers’ Association on its website. The bear attacked the man while he was fishing in the Píľanský stream. The federation has asked anglers and others in the area to be extremely careful when going outdoors.

Last week, the Slovak government approved a bill on the control of problematic predators. It would allow bears that are found prowling the affected areas to be shot.

The Ministry of Environment, led by the Slovak National Party, and the opposition Christian Democratic Movement proposed an amendment to the Nature Protection and Civil Protection Acts to declare a state of emergency in the event of bear attacks. This would ban the setting of baits to attract large predators and require the competent municipality to ensure that baits already set are removed. This is necessary in order to ensure the predator does not leave its natural habitat because of the baits.

Alojz Hlina, of the liberal opposition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), criticized the measure claiming it was not logical to put bear attacks (and consequent emergency rule) under the same category as terrorist attacks or global pandemics, and also warned the measure goes against the EU rules on the protection of natural habitats.

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