Bear kills man in Slovakia forest in what could be first fatal attack

A 57-year-old man has been killed by a brown bear in central Slovakia, in what the state forestry company said could be the first confirmed deadly attack by a wild bear, whose population has tripled in 20 years.

“An autopsy confirmed today that the man from Liptovska Luzna died from injuries caused by this predator,” the forestry company, Lesy Slovenske Republiky, said on Facebook.

Bears are common in Slovak mountains, and their numbers have swollen to an estimated 2,760 last year from fewer than 900 two decades ago, said the forestry company, which has argued for legal hunting of bears to manage their population.

Slovakia’s environment ministry said the bear’s DNA samples would be collected to identify the animal. It said that while there had been five bear attacks on people last year, none were fatal.

News website SME reported the man went missing after going for a walk in the forest near the village of Liptovska Luzna in the Low Tatras mountains.

“We found him lying on his stomach beside a trail,” the website quoted a friend of the victim, Matej Bodor, as saying. “He had been bitten in his throat. He had been bitten in his belly, in his ribs.”

SME described it as Slovakia’s first known deadly bear attack for at least a century, while public news agency TASR called it the first such incident in Slovakia’s modern history.