Romania is difficult for western tourists

Wild Europe Romania's bear out of control

An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 bears live in Romania. Humans are actually not on the animal's menu, but the bears keep attacking. The shepherd Mihai Dan from Transylvania in central Romania experienced it himself: "The dogs suddenly started barking. I turned around and there was the bear. It jumped at me and pulled me to the ground."

With the last of his strength, Mihai Dan dragged himself home, where his wife found him. The 28-year-old was taken to hospital seriously injured. When the hunters arrived in his village of Vidăcut hours later, the bear was long gone.

There have been more than 20 such attacks here in the past few months, says the village chief. The residents are at the end of their nerves and he calls on politicians to take action.

Vidăcut is not the only place from which there have been reports of increased bear attacks. Videos of bear attacks are distributed via social networks, and newspapers in Romania write about such attacks. But there are no reliable figures on bear attacks on humans.

Hunters hope to clear the shot

And the topic polarized, especially since 2016 a hunting ban was introduced, some of which has been withdrawn.

On one side are the hunters. Bears have been banned from hunting since 2016. They demand a shooting quota to keep the population under control. But also because bear hunting is seen as a lucrative source of income - especially with tourists from the west. They are supported by many farmers such as the shepherd Mihai Dan, because bears often also hunt their cattle.

Homemade problem: too little living space

On the other hand, there are conservationists. They complain that the problem is not the bear at all, but the human being, who intervenes more and more in the animal's habitat.

The biologist Laszlo Gal does not believe in lifting the hunting ban. Rather, there should be protection zones for the bears so that humans and bears can coexist peacefully.