In the south of France, a hunter shot a brown bear dead. The 70-year-old man has been bitten in both legs, according to local authorities. He was taken to hospital with severe injuries by helicopter.
The incident happened Saturday at the end of the afternoon in the Pyrenees, where dozens of bears live. The man is said to have been hunting for wild boar in the Seix area with others when he came face to face with a female bear. She walked there with her cubs, which can explain her aggressive reaction. She may have wanted to protect her boy.
Among other things, the bear took a bite from a hunters calf. The man shot his shotgun twice. The brown bear would have died instantly. Research has yet to tell what exactly happened. The brown bear is a protected species in Europe that should not be hunted.
The wounded hunter was bleeding violently, but could still send a message with the walkie-talkie his hunting club uses to keep in touch with each other. Another fighter heard his emergency call. Once on the spot, he saw the dead bear lying a few meters away from the 70-year-old. He provided first aid, limiting blood loss until emergency services arrived.
By helicopter, the wounded hunter was taken from the mountainous area to a hospital. According to a known of the victim, the man is bad at it, writes the news agency AFP.
According to the local hunters association, such an incident is to be expected now that the bear population has increased. A research group says that 52 to 64 brown bears lived in the Pyrenees last year.
It often occurs in the French Pyrenees that cattle animals are attacked by brown bears. For example, in 2019, 214 of these types of incidents were recorded. But it is rare in France for people to be attacked by the protected species.
Especially attacks in Romania
In Europe, an average of about 18 attacks by brown bears on humans is about 18 years. This concluded a 2019 bear attack study published in Nature, with the side note that it is mainly happening 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. There are about 6000 adult bears living there and the number of incidents involving people is increasing. According to researchers, this is due to the combination of a growing population and a shrinking habitat for the animals.