Sunday, July 22, 2007

AP: Bear fatally mauls man in Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania — A bear fatally mauled a man Friday in a town near the Carpathian Mountains, authorities said.

The 50-year-old man was walking in a pasture when the bear attacked him near his house in Zarnesti, a city about 150 miles north of Bucharest, news television Realitatea TV reported.

On Tuesday, the same bear is believed to have attacked two other households, injuring one man. The bear ran away after being poked with a metal pitchfork by the man's wife. A shepherd also complained to authorities that the bear killed eight of his sheep.

Animal health authorities have sent crews to capture or kill the bear, whom they describe as very dangerous as it is injured, and it attacked without being provoked.

Last month, another bear killed a U.S. tourist and injured two others on a mountain trail about 60 miles south of Zarnesti.

Romania is home to about half of Europe's brown bears, but attacks on humans are rare. Three years ago, two men died after they were attacked by a rabid bear.

In mountain cities, residents often feed bears who come down from the mountains seeking food, despite calls by authorities to avoid contact with the animals.

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