Fears of more attacks as tourist mauled by bear while skiing in North Macedonia

Fears of more attacks as tourist mauled by bear while skiing in North Macedonia

A tourist on a skiing holiday in Europe has been attacked by a bear.

The Danish skier was injured in a bear attack at a nature park in North Macedonia, in an area where authorities say mild winters have led to a surge in the brown bear population.

The skier was taken to a hospital in the western city of Tetovo, said Stojance Angelov, head of the country’s state-run Crisis Management Centre.

He suffered injuries to his left leg in the attack that took place in the Shar Mountain area.

Mild winters in recent years have caused bears to cut short or skip hibernation, leading to a surge in their population and increased sightings in urban areas.

A rising bear population has posed a threat to people in an area in western North Macedonia, where bear break-ins are increasingly common.

A dozen cases were reported lasr year of bears attempting to break into houses in search of food by fearful villagers living in the mountainous area of the Mavrovo National Park, the country’s largest.

Some villagers have demanded that authorities take urgent measures for their protection.

The head of the national Crises Management Center, Stojance Angelov, said that in the last five years the population of brown bears in the national park has doubled.

“There are between 160 and 180 brown bears in Mavrovo National Park,” Angelov said. “Experts indicate that there should be up to 70 bears in this region, and their number now has doubled.”

Angelov said that according to the residents of the village of Zirovnica, there are about 30 bears that feed in the area and often enter the village. They pose a danger to the lives and health of the villagers, especially because there are many children, he said.

Similar problems have also been reported in neighbouring Greece, where farming associations say crops and bee hives have been damaged.

Veterinarians examine the mouth of an anaesthetised female Iberian brown bear


And last year an endangered brown bear was killed near an Italian national park sparking outrage in Italy.

The marsican brown bear was shot on the outskirts of the town of San Benedetto dei Marsi in the mountainous Abruzzo region.

The park described the slain animal – nicknamed “Amarena” after the black cherries she loved eating – as one of its most prolific brown bears.

Amarena’s death sparked outrage from local politicians and animal rights advocates, as park rangers tried to locate her cubs amid fears for their survival.

Local police identified and questioned the suspected shooter, who said he acted out of fear when he shot Amarena after discovering the mother bear on his property.

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