A hunter shot and killed a brown bear in the south of France. The 70-year-old man was bitten in both legs, according to local authorities. He was taken to hospital by helicopter with serious injuries.
The incident happened late afternoon on Saturday in the Pyrenees, where dozens of bears live. The man is said to have been hunting wild boars in the Seix area with others when he came face to face with a female bear. She walked there with her cubs, which may explain her aggressive reaction. Perhaps she wanted to protect her boy.
Among other things, the bear took a bite out of the hunter’s roe. The man then shot twice with his shotgun. The brown bear would have died instantly. Investigations have yet to determine what exactly happened. The brown bear is a protected species in Europe that should not be hunted.
The injured hunter was bleeding profusely, but was still able to send a message on the walkie-talkie his hunting club uses to keep in touch. Another hunter heard his distress call. Once on the scene, he saw the dead bear lying a few feet away from the 70-year-old. He administered first aid, limiting blood loss until emergency services arrived.
Dozens of bears
The injured fighter from the mountainous area was taken to a hospital by helicopter. According to an acquaintance of the victim, the man is in bad condition, AFP news agency writes.
According to the local hunters’ association, such an incident is to be expected now that the bear population has increased. A research group says 52-64 brown bears lived in the Pyrenees last year.
In the French Pyrenees, livestock animals are regularly attacked by brown bears. In 2019, for example, 214 such incidents were registered. But it is rare in France that people are attacked by the protected species.
Especially attacks in Romania
In Europe there are an average of about 18 attacks by brown bears on humans each year. That concluded a research published in Nature to bear attacks worldwide from 2019. With the caveat that it mainly happens in Romania, where the population is by far the largest of all European countries.
Two years ago, three men were killed by bears in Romania in a month. About 6000 adult bears live there and the number of incidents involving humans is increasing. According to researchers, this is due to the combination of a growing population and a shrinking habitat for the animals.